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Assessment of climate change impact on water resources in the Pungwe river basin

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The Rossby Centre Regional Climate Model (RCA3) and the hydrological model HBV were linked to assess climate change impacts on water resources in the Pungwe basin until 2050. RCA3 was capable of simulating the most important aspects of the climate for a control period at the regional scale. At the subbasin scale, additional scaling was needed. Three climate change experiments using ECHAM4-A2, B2 and CCSM3-B2 as input to RCA3 were carried out. According to the simulations annual rainfall in 2050 would be reduced by approximately 10% with increasing interannual variability of rainfall and dry season river flow and later onset of the rainy season. The ECHAM4-A2 driven experiment did also indicate a slight increase of high flows. If the results indeed reflect the future, they will worsen the already critical situation for water resources, regarding both floods and droughts. Uncertainties, however in the downscaled scenarios make it difficult to prioritize adaptation options. This calls for inclusion of more climate change experiments, in an ensemble of climate scenarios possibly by using a combination of dynamical and statistical downscaling of general circulation models, as well as extending the simulations to 2100 to further ensure robustness of the signal.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, S-601 76 Norrköping, Sweden

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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