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Deciphering the expression of climate change within the Lower Colorado River basin by stochastic simulation of convective rainfall

Singer, Michael Bliss and Michaelides, Katerina 2017. Deciphering the expression of climate change within the Lower Colorado River basin by stochastic simulation of convective rainfall. Environmental Research Letters 12 (10) , 104011. 10.1088/1748-9326/aa8e50

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Abstract

In drylands, convective rainstorms typically control runoff, streamflow, water supply and flood risk to human populations, and ecological water availability at multiple spatial scales. Since drainage basin water balance is sensitive to climate, it is important to improve characterization of convective rainstorms in a manner that enables statistical assessment of rainfall at high spatial and temporal resolution, and the prediction of plausible manifestations of climate change. Here we present a simple rainstorm generator, STORM, for convective storm simulation. It was created using data from a rain gauge network in one dryland drainage basin, but is applicable anywhere. We employ STORMto assess watershed rainfall under climate change simulations that reflect differences in wetness/ storminess, and thus provide insight into observed or projected regional hydrologic trends. Our analysis documents historical, regional climate change manifesting as a multidecadal decline in rainfall intensity, which we suggest has negatively impacted ephemeral runoff in the Lower Colorado River basin, but has not contributed substantially to regional negative streamflow trends.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Publisher: Institute of Physics
ISSN: 1748-9326
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 February 2018
Date of Acceptance: 22 September 2017
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2018 15:04
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/105462

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