Author(s): N. S. Reynard, A. L. Kay & S. M. Crooks
There is a widely-held view that future climate change will increase flood risk in
Extensive modelling studies have been undertaken at CEH to test this
The development of continuous river flow simulation techniques for
flood frequency estimation now provides a new methodology to predict climate
change impacts on flood flows.
This technique has been applied to a range of
British catchments (work funded by the UK Department for the Environment,
Food and Rural Affairs) to assess potential changes in flood risk and directly
inform policy development for flood defence scheme appraisal.
Using observed climate variables and river flows, the catchment models have
been calibrated and validated for the present day.
A wide range of climate
change scenarios have then been applied to the driving climate data and river
flow time series simulated indicative of future time horizons.
characteristics of the future have been compared with those of the current.
are many uncertainties associated with this type of climate change impact
analysis, including the choice of which Global Climate Model (GCM) to use to
derive scenarios of change and precisely how coarse-resolution climate changes
(from GCMs) are “downscaled” to the catchment level, as well as hydrological
These uncertainties have been assessed, and their effects
on the results are discussed.
Despite the belief that flood flows will increase in the future, there is no clear
message about the size, or even the direction of change in flood flow magnitudes
in the UK.
Changes in flood flows are catchment-specific, being driven by
hydrological variability, such as geology, and the seasonal distribution of
flood risk, river flow modelling, climate change, uncertainty.
Size: 511 kb
Paper DOI: 10.2495/RM070291
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