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Climatic Change

, Volume 122, Issue 1–2, pp 171–184 | Cite as

Robust estimates of climate-induced hydrological change in a temperate mountainous region

  • N. KöplinEmail author
  • O. Rößler
  • B. Schädler
  • R. Weingartner
Article

Abstract

A sustainable water resources management depends on sound information about the impacts of climate change. This information is, however, not easily derived because natural runoff variability interferes with the climate change signal. This study presents a procedure that leads to robust estimates of magnitude and Time Of Emergence (TOE) of climate-induced hydrological change that also account for the natural variability contained in the time series. Firstly, natural variability of 189 mesoscale catchments in Switzerland is sampled for 10 ENSEMBLES scenarios for the control (1984–2005) and two scenario periods (near future: 2025–2046, far future: 2074–2095) applying a bootstrap procedure. Then, the sampling distributions of mean monthly runoff are tested for significant differences with the Wilcoxon-Mann–Whitney test and for effect size with Cliff’s delta d. Finally, the TOE of a climate change induced hydrological change is determined when at least eight out of the ten hydrological projections significantly differ from natural variability. The results show that the TOE occurs in the near future period except for high-elevated catchments in late summer. The significant hydrological projections in the near future correspond, however, to only minor runoff changes. In the far future, hydrological change is statistically significant and runoff changes are substantial. Temperature change is the most important factor determining hydrological change in this mountainous region. Therefore, hydrological change depends strongly on a catchment’s mean elevation. Considering that the hydrological changes are predicted to be robust in the near future highlights the importance of accounting for these changes in water resources planning.

Keywords

Climate Scenario Future Period Hydrological Change Climate Change Signal Runoff Change 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was funded by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). The authors would like to thank the FOEN, the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (SFSO) and the Federal Office for Meteorology and Climatology (MeteoSwiss) for providing the necessary input data. The delta change scenario data were distributed by the Center for Climate Systems Modeling (C2SM). The data were derived from regional climate simulations of the EU FP6 Integrated Project ENSEMBLES (Contract number 505539) whose support is gratefully acknowledged. The dataset has been prepared by Thomas Bosshard at ETH Zurich, partly funded by swisselectric/Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) and CCHydro/Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). The authors would like to thank Frank Paul and Andreas Linsbauer, Institute of Geography, University of Zurich (GIUZ), for providing the scenarios of glacier retreat.

Supplementary material

10584_2013_1015_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (95 kb)
Fig. S1 (PDF 95 kb)
10584_2013_1015_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (440 kb)
Fig. S2 (PDF 439 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Köplin
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • O. Rößler
    • 1
    • 2
  • B. Schädler
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. Weingartner
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Oeschger Centre for Climate Change ResearchUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Geography, Hydrology GroupUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

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