Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1088/1748-9326/aa9e35
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) Multi-model ensemble projections of European river floods and high flows at 1.5, 2, and 3 degrees global warming
Author Thober, S.; Kumar, R. ORCID logo ; Wanders, N.; Marx, A.; Pan, M.; Rakovec, O. ORCID logo ; Samaniego, L. ORCID logo ; Sheffield, J.; Wood, E.F.; Zink, M.
Source Titel Environmental Research Letters
Year 2018
Department CHS
Volume 13
Issue 1
Page From art. 014003
Language englisch
UFZ wide themes RU5;
Abstract Severe river floods often result in huge economic losses and fatalities. Since 1980, almost 1500 such events have been reported in Europe. This study investigates climate change impacts on European floods under 1.5, 2, and 3 K global warming. The impacts are assessed employing a multi-model ensemble containing three hydrologic models (HMs: mHM, Noah-MP, PCR-GLOBWB) forced by five CMIP5 General Circulation Models (GCMs) under three Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs 2.6, 6.0, and 8.5). This multi-model ensemble is unprecedented with respect to the combination of its size (45 realisations) and its spatial resolution, which is 5 km over entire Europe. Climate change impacts are quantified for high flows and flood events, represented by 10% exceedance probability and annual maxima of daily streamflow, respectively. The multi-model ensemble points to the Mediterranean region as a hotspot of changes with significant decrements in high flows from -11% at 1.5 K up to -30% at 3 K global warming mainly resulting from reduced precipitation. Small changes (< ±10%) are observed for river basins in Central Europe and the British Isles under different levels of warming. Projected higher annual precipitation increases high flows in Scandinavia, but reduced snow water equivalent decreases flood events in this region. Neglecting uncertainties originating from internal climate variability, downscaling technique, and hydrologic model parameters, the contribution by the GCMs to the overall uncertainties of the ensemble is in general higher than that by the HMs. The latter, however, have a substantial share of the overall uncertainty and exceed GCM uncertainty in the Mediterranean and Scandinavia. Adaptation measures for limiting the impacts of global warming could be similar under 1.5 K and 2 K global warming, but has to account for significantly higher changes under 3 K global warming.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Thober, S., Kumar, R., Wanders, N., Marx, A., Pan, M., Rakovec, O., Samaniego, L., Sheffield, J., Wood, E.F., Zink, M. (2018):
Multi-model ensemble projections of European river floods and high flows at 1.5, 2, and 3 degrees global warming
Environ. Res. Lett. 13 (1), art. 014003 10.1088/1748-9326/aa9e35