Climatic Change

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 159-177

First online:

Modeling the effects of climate change on water resources - a review

  • George H. LeavesleyAffiliated withU.S. Department of the Interior, Geological Survey

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Hydrologic models provide a framework in which to conceptualize and investigate the relationships between climate and water resources. A review of current studies that assess the impacts of climate change using hydrologic models indicates a number of problem areas common to the variety of models applied. These problem areas include parameter estimation, scale, model validation, climate scenario generation, and data. Research needs to address these problems include development of (1) a more physically based understanding of hydrologic processes and their interactions; (2) parameter measurement and estimation techniques for application over a range of spatial and temporal scales; (3) quantitative measures of uncertainty in model parameters and model results; (4) improved methodologies of climate scenario generation; (5) detailed data sets in a variety of climatic and physiographic regions; and (6) modular modeling tools to provide a framework to facilitate interdisciplinary research. Solutions to these problems would significantly improve the capability of models to assess the effects of climate change.