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Climate change effects on extreme flows of water supply area in Istanbul: utility of regional climate models and downscaling method

2015-09-01
Kara, Fatih
Yücel, İsmail
This study investigates the climate change impact on the changes of mean and extreme flows under current and future climate conditions in the Omerli Basin of Istanbul, Turkey. The 15 regional climate model output from the EU-ENSEMBLES project and a downscaling method based on local implications from geophysical variables were used for the comparative analyses. Automated calibration algorithm is used to optimize the parameters of Hydrologiska Byrans Vattenbalansavdel-ning (HBV) model for the study catchment using observed daily temperature and precipitation. The calibrated HBV model was implemented to simulate daily flows using precipitation and temperature data from climate models with and without downscaling method for reference (1960-1990) and scenario (2071-2100) periods. Flood indices were derived from daily flows, and their changes throughout the four seasons and year were evaluated by comparing their values derived from simulations corresponding to the current and future climate. All climate models strongly underestimate precipitation while downscaling improves their underestimation feature particularly for extreme events. Depending on precipitation input from climate models with and without downscaling the HBV also significantly underestimates daily mean and extreme flows through all seasons. However, this underestimation feature is importantly improved for all seasons especially for spring and winter through the use of downscaled inputs. Changes in extreme flows from reference to future increased for the winter and spring and decreased for the fall and summer seasons. These changes were more significant with downscaling inputs. With respect to current time, higher flow magnitudes for given return periods will be experienced in the future and hence, in the planning of the Omerli reservoir, the effective storage and water use should be sustained.