Articles | Volume 369
11 Jun 2015
 | 11 Jun 2015

Climate noise effect on uncertainty of hydrological extremes: numerical experiments with hydrological and climate models

A. N. Gelfan, V. A. Semenov, and Yu. G. Motovilov

Abstract. An approach has been proposed to analyze the simulated hydrological extreme uncertainty related to the internal variability of the atmosphere ("climate noise"), which is inherent to the climate system and considered as the lowest level of uncertainty achievable in climate impact studies. To assess the climate noise effect, numerical experiments were made with climate model ECHAM5 and hydrological model ECOMAG. The case study was carried out to Northern Dvina River basin (catchment area is 360 000 km2), whose hydrological regime is characterised by extreme freshets during spring-summer snowmelt period. The climate noise was represented by ensemble ECHAM5 simulations (45 ensemble members) with identical historical boundary forcing and varying initial conditions. An ensemble of the ECHAM5-outputs for the period of 1979–2012 was used (after bias correction post-processing) as the hydrological model inputs, and the corresponding ensemble of 45 multi-year hydrographs was simulated. From this ensemble, we derived flood statistic uncertainty caused by the internal variability of the atmosphere.