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Development of a high resolution grid-based river flow model for use with regional climate model output

Journal: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences
ISSN 1027-5606

Volume: 11;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 532;
Date: 2007;
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A grid-based approach to river flow modelling has been developed for regional assessments of the impact of environmental change on hydrologically sensitive systems. The approach also provides a means of assessing, and providing feedback on, the hydrological performance of the land-surface component of a regional climate model (RCM). When combined with information on the evolution of climate, the model can give estimates of the impact of future climate change on river flows and flooding. The high-resolution flow routing and runoff-production model is designed for use with RCM-derived rainfall and potential evaporation (PE), although other sources of gridded rainfall and PE can be employed. Called the "Grid-to-Grid Model", or G2G, it can be configured on grids of different resolution and coverage (a 1 km grid over the UK is used here). The model can simulate flow on an area-wide basis as well as providing estimates of fluvial discharges for input to shelf-sea and ocean models. Configuration of the flow routing model on a relatively high resolution 1 km grid allows modelled river flows to be compared with gauged observations for a variety of catchments across the UK. Modelled flows are also compared with those obtained from a catchment-based model, a parameter-generalised form of the Probability-Distributed Model (PDM) developed for assessing flood frequency. Using RCM re-analysis rainfall and PE as input, the G2G model performs well compared with measured flows at a daily time-step, particularly for high relief catchments. It performs less well for low-relief and groundwater-dominated regions because the dominant model control on runoff production is topography.
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