Hydrological Modelling for Assessing Climate Change Impacts at different Scales
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WP4: Uncertainty

To evaluate the significance of results on hydrological change, it is necessary to quantify the uncertainty on both the climate model results and the error propagation through the hydrological model. The climate model uncertainty is a function of greenhouse gas emission scenarios, uncertainties related to the climate models including bias-correction and downscaling methods, and uncertainty with respect to anthropogenic water resources development in the future (management scenario uncertainty). The climate scenario uncertainty will be considered using different greenhouse gas emission scenarios. The uncertainty because of the climate model will be quantified by utilizing the results of the EU project ENSEMBLES (concluded 2009), where the uncertainty including both the differences between multiple climate models and the uncertainty of the individual model predictions are quantified. Management scenario uncertainty will be investigated by defining different scenarios for groundwater abstraction, irrigation, and land use. The effects of these uncertainties will be combined with the uncertainty on the hydrological model which primarily is a function of model scale, model structure, and parameter uncertainty. Focus of the project will be to quantify the uncertainty on the difference in hydrological variables (e.g. groundwater level and stream discharge) when the present and the future climate is used as input. Emphasis will be put on the effect of model structure and model scale on the uncertainty. Multiple model structures will be considered, using e.g. different geological interpretations or stochastic realizations, different model descriptions of the unsaturated zone or using different descriptions of land use and evapotranspiration. The effect of scale, e.g. regional scale compared to local scale, on the uncertainty will be analyzed in relation to catchment heterogeneity and variability in stresses. With respect to parameter uncertainty standard methods will be used to transfer the statistical uncertainty on the parameters to uncertainty on the model results.

GEUS is in charge of WP4.

Contact: Torben Sonnenborg


Geological uncertainty (Post doc project)

Contact: Dorte Seifert

Uncertainty on hydrological change (PhD project)

Contact: Lauren P. Seaby

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Last modified : June 26, 2009
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