Analysis of streamflow characteristics over Northeastern Canada in a changing climate

Huziy, O.; Sushama, L.; Khaliq, M. N.; Laprise, René; Lehner, B. et Roy, R. (2013). « Analysis of streamflow characteristics over Northeastern Canada in a changing climate ». Climate Dynamics, 40(7-8), pp. 1879-1901.

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An analysis of streamflow characteristics (i.e. mean annual and seasonal flows and extreme high and low flows) in current and future climates for 21 watersheds of north-east Canada covering mainly the province of Quebec is presented in this article. For the analysis, streamflows are derived from a 10-member ensemble of Canadian Regional Climate Model (CRCM) simulations, driven by the Canadian Global Climate Model simulations, of which five correspond to current 1970–1999 period, while the other five correspond to future 2041–2070 period. For developing projected changes of streamflow characteristics from current to future periods, two different approaches are used: one based on the concept of ensemble averaging while the other approach is based on merged samples of current and similarly future simulations following multiple comparison tests. Verification of the CRCM simulated streamflow characteristics for the 1970–1999 period suggests that the model simulated mean hydrographs and high flow characteristics compare well with those observed, while the model tends to underestimate low flow extremes. Results of projected changes to mean annual streamflow suggest statistically significant increases nearly all over the study domain, while those for seasonal streamflow show increases/decreases depending on the season. Two- and 5-year return levels of 15-day low flows are projected to increase significantly over most part of the study domain, though the changes are small in absolute terms. Based on the ensemble averaging approach, changes to 10- and 30-year return levels of high flows are not generally found significant. However, when a similar analysis is performed using longer samples, significant increases to high flow return levels are found mainly for northernmost watersheds. This study highlights the need for longer samples, particularly for extreme events in the development of robust projections.

Type: Article de revue scientifique
Mots-clés ou Sujets: Climate change, Extreme flows, Regional climate modelling, Statistical analysis
Unité d'appartenance: Centres institutionnels > Centre pour l'étude et la simulation du climat à l'échelle régionale (ESCER)
Faculté des sciences > Département des sciences de la Terre et de l'atmosphère
Déposé par: René Laprise
Date de dépôt: 01 avr. 2016 18:14
Dernière modification: 19 avr. 2016 18:43
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