American Geophysical Union / John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Understanding the uncertainty in the projected impacts of climate change on hydrology will help decision-makers interpret the confidence in different projected future hydrologic impacts. We focus on California, which is vulnerable to hydrologic impacts of climate change. We statistically bias correct and downscale temperature and precipitation projections from 10 GCMs participating in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project. These GCM simulations include a control period (unchanging CO2 and other forcing) and perturbed period (1%/year CO2 increase). We force a hydrologic model with the downscaled GCM data to generate streamflow at strategic points. While the different GCMs predict significantly different regional climate responses to increasing atmospheric CO2, hydrological responses are robust across models: decreases in summer low flows and increases in winter flows, and a shift of flow to earlier in the year. Summer flow decreases become consistent across models at lower levels of greenhouse gases than increases in winter flows do.
Maurer, E.P. and P.B. Duffy, 2005, Uncertainty in Projections of Streamflow Changes due to Climate Change in California, Geophys. Res. Let. 32(3), L03704 doi:10.1029/2004GL021462