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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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Earth Syst. Dynam., 4, 359-374, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
10 Oct 2013
Comparing projections of future changes in runoff from hydrological and biome models in ISI-MIP
J. C. S. Davie1, P. D. Falloon1, R. Kahana1, R. Dankers1, R. Betts1, F. T. Portmann2,9, D. Wisser3, D. B. Clark4, A. Ito5, Y. Masaki5, K. Nishina5, B. Fekete6, Z. Tessler6, Y. Wada7, X. Liu8, Q. Tang8, S. Hagemann10, T. Stacke10, R. Pavlick11, S. Schaphoff12, S. N. Gosling13, W. Franssen14, and N. Arnell15 1Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, UK
2Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (LOEWE BiK-F) & Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
3Center for Development Research, University of Bonn, Germany
4Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford, UK
5Center for Global Environmental Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Japan
6Civil Engineering Department, The City College of New York CUNY, New York, USA
7Department of Physical Geography, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
8Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
9Institute of Physical Geography, Goethe University Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
10Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
11Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany
12Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany
13School of Geography, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
14Wageningen University and Research Centre, Wageningen, the Netherlands
15Walker Institute, University of Reading, UK
Abstract. Future changes in runoff can have important implications for water resources and flooding. In this study, runoff projections from ISI-MIP (Inter-sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project) simulations forced with HadGEM2-ES bias-corrected climate data under the Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 have been analysed for differences between impact models. Projections of change from a baseline period (1981–2010) to the future (2070–2099) from 12 impacts models which contributed to the hydrological and biomes sectors of ISI-MIP were studied. The biome models differed from the hydrological models by the inclusion of CO2 impacts and most also included a dynamic vegetation distribution. The biome and hydrological models agreed on the sign of runoff change for most regions of the world. However, in West Africa, the hydrological models projected drying, and the biome models a moistening. The biome models tended to produce larger increases and smaller decreases in regionally averaged runoff than the hydrological models, although there is large inter-model spread. The timing of runoff change was similar, but there were differences in magnitude, particularly at peak runoff. The impact of vegetation distribution change was much smaller than the projected change over time, while elevated CO2 had an effect as large as the magnitude of change over time projected by some models in some regions. The effect of CO2 on runoff was not consistent across the models, with two models showing increases and two decreases. There was also more spread in projections from the runs with elevated CO2 than with constant CO2. The biome models which gave increased runoff from elevated CO2 were also those which differed most from the hydrological models. Spatially, regions with most difference between model types tended to be projected to have most effect from elevated CO2, and seasonal differences were also similar, so elevated CO2 can partly explain the differences between hydrological and biome model runoff change projections. Therefore, this shows that a range of impact models should be considered to give the full range of uncertainty in impacts studies.

Citation: Davie, J. C. S., Falloon, P. D., Kahana, R., Dankers, R., Betts, R., Portmann, F. T., Wisser, D., Clark, D. B., Ito, A., Masaki, Y., Nishina, K., Fekete, B., Tessler, Z., Wada, Y., Liu, X., Tang, Q., Hagemann, S., Stacke, T., Pavlick, R., Schaphoff, S., Gosling, S. N., Franssen, W., and Arnell, N.: Comparing projections of future changes in runoff from hydrological and biome models in ISI-MIP, Earth Syst. Dynam., 4, 359-374,, 2013.
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