On the Suitability of GCM Runoff Fields for River Discharge Modeling: A Case Study Using Model Output from HadGEM2 and ECHAM5

Weiland, F. C. Sperna; van Beek, L. P. H.; Kwadijk, J. C. J.; Bierkens, M. F. P.
February 2012
Journal of Hydrometeorology;Feb2012, Vol. 13 Issue 1, p140
Academic Journal
The representation of hydrological processes in land surface schemes (LSSs) has recently been improved. In this study, the usability of GCM runoff for river discharge modeling is evaluated by validating the mean, timing, and amplitude of the modeled annual discharge cycles against observations. River discharge was calculated for six large rivers using runoff, precipitation, and actual evaporation from the GCMs ECHAM5 and Hadley Centre Global Environmental Model version 2 (HadGEM2). Four methods were applied: 1) accumulation of GCM runoff, 2) routing of GCM runoff, 3) routing of GCM runoff combined with temporal storage of subsurface runoff, and 4) offline hydrological modeling with the global distributed hydrological model PCRaster Global Water Balance (PCR-GLOBWB) using meteorological data from the GCMs as forcing. The quality of discharge generated by all four methods is highly influenced by the quality of the GCM data. In small catchments, the methods that include runoff routing perform equally well, although offline modeling with PRC-GLOBWB outperforms the other methods for ECHAM5 data. For larger catchments, routing introduces realistic travel times, decreased day-to-day variability, and it reduces extremes. Complexity of the LSS of both GCMs is comparable to the complexity of the hydrological model. However, in HadGEM2 the absence of subgrid variability for saturated hydraulic conductivity results in a large subsurface runoff flux and a low seasonal variability in the annual discharge cycle. The analysis of these two GCMs shows that when LSSs are tuned to reproduce realistic water partitioning at the grid scale and a routing scheme is also included, discharge variability and change derived from GCM runoff could be as useful as changes derived from runoff obtained from offline simulations using large-scale hydrological models.


Related Articles

  • 5) RIVER DISCHARGE. Kim, H.; Oki, T. // Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society;July 2014 Supplement, pS23 

    The article reports on the global river discharge in 2013. Topics discussed include the connection between overland precipitation and freshwater supply to oceans, the key role of river discharge in the global water cycle, and the spatial variability of the global river discharge and runoff...

  • Changes in Intense Precipitation over the Central United States. Groisman, Pavel Ya.; Knight, Richard W.; Karl, Thomas R. // Journal of Hydrometeorology;Feb2012, Vol. 13 Issue 1, p47 

    In examining intense precipitation over the central United States, the authors consider only days with precipitation when the daily total is above 12.7 mm and focus only on these days and multiday events constructed from such consecutive precipitation days. Analyses show that over the central...

  • Atmospheric water budget over the western Himalayas in a regional climate model. DIMRI, A // Journal of Earth System Science;Aug2012, Vol. 121 Issue 4, p963 

    During winter months (December, January, February - DJF), the western Himalayas (WH) receive precipitation from eastward moving extratropical cyclones, called western disturbances (WDs) in Indian parlance. Winter precipitation-moisture convergence-evaporation (P-C-E) cycle is analyzed for a...

  • Simulating river discharge in a snowy region of Japan using output from a regional climate model. Ma, X.; Kawase, H.; Adachi, S.; Fujita, M.; Takahashi, H. G.; Hara, M.; Ishizaki, N.; Yoshikane, T.; Hatsushika, H.; Wakazuki, Y.; Kimura, F. // Advances in Geosciences;2013, Vol. 35, p55 

    Snowfall amounts have fallen sharply along the eastern coast of the Sea of Japan since the mid-1980s. Toyama Prefecture, located approximately in the center of the Japan Sea region, includes high mountains of the northern Japanese Alps on three of its sides. The scarcity of meteorological...

  • Global Evaluation of the ISBA-TRIP Continental Hydrological System. Part I: Comparison to GRACE Terrestrial Water Storage Estimates and In Situ River Discharges. Alkama, R.; Decharme, B.; Douville, H.; Becker, M.; Cazenave, A.; Sheffield, J.; Voldoire, A.; Tyteca, S.; Le Moigne, P. // Journal of Hydrometeorology;Jun2010, Vol. 11 Issue 3, p583 

    In earth system models, the partitioning of precipitation among the variations of continental water storage, evapotranspiration, and freshwater runoff to the ocean has a major influence on the terrestrial water and energy budgets and thereby on simulated climate on a wide range of scales. The...

  • Multiscale Variability of the River Runoff System in China and Its Long-Term Link to Precipitation and Sea Surface Temperature. Yongkang Xue; Shufen Sun; Lau, K.-M.; Jinjun Ji; Poccard, Isabelle; Renhe Zhang; Hyun-Suk Kang; Guoxiong Wu; Schaake, John C.; Jian Yun Zhang; Yanjun Jiao // Journal of Hydrometeorology;Aug2005, Vol. 6 Issue 4, p550 

    This is an exploratory study to investigate the spatial and temporal characteristics of east China’s (EC) river runoff and their relationship with precipitation and sea surface temperature (SST) at the continental scale. Monthly mean data from 72 runoff stations and 160 precipitation...

  • The Operational Eta Model Precipitation and Surface Hydrologic Cycle of the Columbia and Colorado Basins. Yan Luo; Berbery, Ernesto H.; Mitchell, Kenneth E. // Journal of Hydrometeorology;Aug2005, Vol. 6 Issue 4, p341 

    The surface hydrology of the United States’ western basins is investigated using the National Centers for Environmental Prediction operational Eta Model forecasts. During recent years the model has been subject to changes and upgrades that positively affected its performance. These...

  • The Temporal Variability of Soil Moisture and Surface Hydrological Quantities in a Climate Model. Arora, Vivek K.; Boer, George J. // Journal of Climate;Nov2006, Vol. 19 Issue 22, p5875 

    The variance budget of land surface hydrological quantities is analyzed in the second Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project (AMIP2) simulation made with the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis (CCCma) third-generation general circulation model (AGCM3). The land surface...

  • The Community Land Model and Its Climate Statistics as a Component of the Community Climate System Model. Dickinson, Robert E.; Oleson, Keith W.; Bonan, Gordon; Hoffman, Forrest; Thornton, Peter; Vertenstein, Mariana; Zong-Liang Yang; Zeng, Xubin // Journal of Climate;Jun2006, Vol. 19 Issue 11, p2302 

    Several multidecadal simulations have been carried out with the new version of the Community Climate System Model (CCSM). This paper reports an analysis of the land component of these simulations. Global annual averages over land appear to be within the uncertainty of observational datasets, but...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics