Probabilistic impacts of climate change on flood frequency using response surfaces I: England and Wales

Abstract

The impacts of climate change on hydrology are an important focus of research around the world, but the use of large ensembles to drive impact models is not necessarily straightforward and has to be redone when new projections are released. Here, an alternative sensitivity framework approach is demonstrated, using a set of typical response surfaces alongside the probabilistic UK Climate Projections (UKCP09). These projections comprise sets of 10,000 changes in a number of variables, available for 10 river-basin regions covering England and Wales. Estimates of the potential range of impacts on 20-year return period flood peaks are presented for different types of catchment in each region. Regional average impact ranges are compared for a number of time horizons and emissions scenarios. Results show clear differences in impacts between catchments of different types and between regions. South-East England has the highest impacts with the greatest uncertainty range, while the Dee region has the lowest impacts and smallest uncertainty range. Regional differences are due to both spatial differences in projections and a differing regional balance in the number of catchments of each type. Ease of application of multiple projections is a clear advantage of this sensitivity-based approach to impact assessment, which could be extended to other regions and sectors.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7

References

  1. Bastola S, Murphy C, Sweeney J (2011) The sensitivity of fluvial flood risk in Irish catchments to the range of IPCC AR4 climate change scenarios. Sci Total Environ 409:5403–5415

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bell VA, Kay AL, Cole SJ, Jones RG, Moore RJ, Reynard NS (2012) How might climate change affect river flows across the Thames Basin? An area-wide analysis using the UKCP09 regional climate model ensemble. J Hydrol 442–443:89–104. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2012.04.001

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Chen J, Brissette FP, Poulin A, Leconte XXXXXX (2011) Overall uncertainty study of the hydrological impacts of climate change for a Canadian watershed. Water Resour Res 47:W12509. doi:10.1029/2011WR010602

    Google Scholar 

  4. Crooks SM, Kay AL, Reynard NS (2009) Regionalised impacts of climate change on flood flows: hydrological models, catchments and calibration. Report to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, FD2020 project milestone, CEH Wallingford, Nov 2009

  5. Dankers R, Feyen L (2009) Flood hazard in Europe in an ensemble of regional climate scenarios. J Geophys Res 114:D16108. doi:10.1029/2008JD011523

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Defra (2006) FCDPAG3 Economic Appraisal: Supplementary note to operating authorities—climate change impacts, October 2006, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, London, UK

  7. Environment Agency (2011) Adapting to Climate Change: Advice for Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Authorities. Environment Agency, p 29

  8. Fronzek S, Carter TR, Räisänen J, Ruokolainen L, Luoto M (2010) Applying probabilistic projections of climate change with impact models: a case study for sub-arctic palsa mires in Fennoscandia. Clim Change 99:515–534

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Gosling SN, Taylor RG, Arnell NW, Todd MC (2011) A comparative analysis of projected impacts of climate change on river runoff from global and catchment-scale hydrological models. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 15:279–294

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. IPCC (2000) Special report on emissions scenarios (SRES): a special report of Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on climate change. Nakicenovic N, Swart R (eds). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

  11. IPCC (2007) Climate Change 2007: Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Parry ML, Canziani OF, Palutikof JP, van der Linden PJ, Hanson CE (eds). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, and New York, USA, p 841

  12. Kay AL, Jones RG (2012) Comparison of the use of alternative UKCP09 products for modelling the impacts of climate change on flood frequency. Clim Change 114:211–230. doi:10.1007/s10584-011-0395-z

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Kay AL, Davies HN, Bell VA, Jones RG (2009) Comparison of uncertainty sources for climate change impacts: flood frequency in England. Clim Change 92(1–2):41–63. doi:10.1007/s10584-008-9471-4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Kay AL, Crooks SM, Davies HN, Prudhomme C, Reynard NS (2011) Practicalities for implementing regionalised allowances for climate change on flood flows. Report to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Technical Report FD2648, CEH Wallingford, May 2011

  15. Kay AL, Crooks SM, Davies HN, Reynard NS (2013a) Probabilistic impacts of climate change on flood frequency using response surfaces II: Scotland. Reg Environ Change. doi:10.1007/s10113-013-0564-x

  16. Kay AL, Crooks SM, Reynard NS (2013b) Using response surfaces to estimate impacts of climate change on flood frequency: assessment of uncertainty. Hydrol Process. doi:10.1002/hyp.10000

    Google Scholar 

  17. Lehner B, Döll P, Alcamo J, Henrichs T, Kaspar F (2006) Estimating the impact of global change on flood and drought risks in Europe: a continental, integrated analysis. Clim Change 75:273–299

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Murphy JM, Sexton DMH, Jenkins GJ, Booth BBB, Brown CC, Clark RT, Collins M, Harris GR, Kendon EJ, Betts RA, Brown SJ, Humphrey KA, McCarthy MP, McDonald RE, Stephens A, Wallace C, Warren R, Wilby R, Wood RA (2009) UK climate projections science report: climate change projections. Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter

    Google Scholar 

  19. Prudhomme C, Wilby RL, Crooks S, Kay AL, Reynard NS (2010) Scenario-neutral approach to climate change impact studies: application to flood risk. J Hydrol 390:198–209

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Prudhomme C, Crooks S, Kay AL, Reynard NS (2013a) Climate change and river flooding: Part 1 classifying the sensitivity of British catchments. Clim Change 119(3–4):933–948. doi:10.1007/s10584-013-0748-x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Prudhomme C, Kay AL, Crooks S, Reynard NS (2013b) Climate change and river flooding: Part 2 sensitivity characterisation for British catchments and example vulnerability assessments. Clim Change 119(3–4):949–964. doi:10.1007/s10584-013-0726-3

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Reynard NS, Crooks S, Kay AL, Prudhomme C (2009) Regionalised impacts of climate change on flood flows. Report to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Technical Report FD2020, CEH Wallingford, p 113

  23. Thompson JR, Green AJ, Kingston DG, Gosling SN (2013) Assessment of uncertainty in river flow projections for the Mekong River using multiple GCMs and hydrological models. J Hydrol 486:1–30

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Weiß M (2011) Future water availability in selected European catchments: a probabilistic assessment of seasonal flows under the IPCC A1B emission scenario using response surfaces. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 11:2163–2171

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Wetterhall F, Graham LP, Andréasson J, Rosberg J, Yang W (2011) Using ensemble climate projections to assess probabilistic hydrological change in the Nordic region. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 11:2295–2306

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) (project number FD2648) with additional contribution from the NERC-CEH Water science programme. The UK Climate Projections data have been made available by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) under licence from the Met Office, Newcastle University, University of East Anglia and Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory. These organisations accept no responsibility for any inaccuracies or omissions in the data, nor for any loss or damage directly or indirectly caused to any person or body by reason of, or arising out of, any use of these data.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to A. L. Kay.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (PDF 254 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kay, A.L., Crooks, S.M., Davies, H.N. et al. Probabilistic impacts of climate change on flood frequency using response surfaces I: England and Wales. Reg Environ Change 14, 1215–1227 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-013-0563-y

Download citation

Keywords

  • Response surfaces
  • Climate change
  • Floods
  • Adaptation
  • UKCP09