Comparison of predictions of rainfall-runoff models for changes in rainfall in the Murray-Darling Basin
1School of Mathematical Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Australia
2School of Mathematics and Statistics, The University of South Australia, Australia
Abstract. Management of water resources requires an appreciation for how climate change, in particular changes in rainfall, affects the volume of water available in runoff. While there are many studies that use hydrological models for this purpose, comparisons of predictions appear much less commonly in the literature. This paper aims to contribute to this discussion by proposing methods for evaluating the effect on daily runoff projections of rainfall-runoff models when historical daily rainfall inputs are scaled by factors that increase and decrease the rainfall. Considered are the widely used lumped conceptual model SIMHYD and a selection of time series models which feature lagged runoff and rainfall terms. In particular these are AutoRegressive with eXogenous input (ARX), a variant containing nonlinear autoregressive runoff terms (NARX), a model for the log transform of runoff, a finite impulse response model (FIR) and a two regime threshold autoregressive model with exogenous input (TARX).
Results show that SIMHYD and the single regime time series models considered have very different behaviour under scaled input rainfall. Reasons for the discrepancy are discussed. The amplification of the rainfall change observed for SIMHYD is consistent with claims that a 1% change in rainfall leads to a 2–3% change in runoff in the Murray-Darling Basin.