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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-375
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-375
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 05 Aug 2019

Submitted as: research article | 05 Aug 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Impact of downscaled rainfall biases on projected runoff changes

Stephen P. Charles1, Francis H. S. Chiew2, Nicholas J. Potter2, Hongxing Zheng2, Guobin Fu1, and Lu Zhang2 Stephen P. Charles et al.
  • 1CSIRO Land and Water, Floreat WA, 6148, Australia
  • 2CSIRO Land and Water, Canberra ACT, 2601, Australia

Abstract. Realistic projections of changes to daily rainfall frequency and magnitude, at catchment scales, are required to assess the potential impacts of climate change on regional water supply. We show that quantile-quantile matched (QQM) bias-corrected daily rainfall from dynamically downscaled WRF simulations of current climate produce biased hydrological simulations, in a case study for the State of Victoria, Australia (237 629 km2). While the QQM bias correction can remove bias in daily rainfall distributions at each 10 km2 grid point across Victoria, the GR4J rainfall-runoff model underestimates runoff when driven with QQM bias-corrected daily rainfall. We compare simulated runoff differences using bias-corrected and empirically scaled rainfall for several key water supply catchments across Victoria and discuss the implications for confidence in the magnitude of projected changes for mid-century. Our results highlight the imperative for methods that can correct for temporal and spatial biases in dynamically downscaled daily rainfall if they are to be suitable for hydrological projection.

Stephen P. Charles et al.
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Stephen P. Charles et al.
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Short summary
Assesses suitability of bias-corrected (BC) WRF daily rainfall across state of Victoria, Australia for input to hydrological models to determine plausible climate change impacts on runoff. Compares rainfall and runoff changes using BC WRF with those obtained from empirical scaling (ES) using raw WRF changes. Concludes BC derived changes are more plausible than ES derived changes but that remaining biases in BC WRF daily add uncertainty to runoff projections.
Assesses suitability of bias-corrected (BC) WRF daily rainfall across state of Victoria,...
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