Climate Change and Climate Variability

Oral Abstract

Impacts of Anthropogenic Climate Change and Natural Climate Variability on Hydrology

Wednesday, January 4
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: 2nd & 3rd Meeting Room

The impacts of climate change on hydrology have been the focus of many studies for many years in the environmental and water resources communities. Most climate change impact studies follow a typical top-down approach to evaluating climate change impacts according to changes in the hydrological regime of a future period compared to an historical reference period. In the overwhelming majority of such studies, the contribution of natural climate variability (NCV) is not considered. However, recent studies indicate that the uncertainty related to NCV can be comparable to or even larger than the climate change signal (CCS), especially for the near future. This project proposes an in-depth study of the role of NCV in overall climate change (combination of anthropogenic climate change and NCV) using multi-member and multi-model ensembles of climate models. The Time of Emergence (ToE) is used as a variable to determine the time at which the CCS emerges from the noise of NCV. The general pattern of results show that the ToE of precipitation is sooner for high-latitude regions than mid- and low-latitude regions. For high-latitude regions, the CCS of precipitation emerges from the NCV at the beginning of this century. However, for some regions of the mid- and low-latitude, it does not emerge, even at the end of this century. In contrast, the ToE of temperature is sooner for mid-latitude regions than high- and low-latitude regions, especially for the north hemisphere. In addition, the CCS of temperature emerge from the NCV between 1970s and 1990s for most parts of the world and before 2050s all over the world. In terms of hydrological modeling, the NCV contributes significantly to overall climate change, especially for near future before 2050s. The results of this project is significant in terms of improving engineering design practices and providing robust adaptation strategies to climate change in hydrological science. Adapting to NCV may well turn out to be the most efficient approach to climate change adaptation, especially when considering the large uncertainties inherent to all projections of the future climate.

Jie Chen

State Key Laboratory of Water Resources & Hydropower Engineering Science, Wuhan University


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Impacts of Anthropogenic Climate Change and Natural Climate Variability on Hydrology

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