Investigation of Changes in Hydrological Processes using a Regional Climate Model

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Bhuiyan, AKM Hassanuzzaman
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This thesis evaluates regional hydrology using output from the Canadian Regional Climate Model (CRCM 4.1) and examines changes in the hydrological processes over the Churchill River Basin (CRB) by employing the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) hydrology model. The CRCM evaluation has been performed by combining the atmospheric and the terrestrial water budget components of the hydrological cycle. The North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) data are used where direct observations are not available. The outcome of the evaluation reveals the potential of the CRCM for use in long-term hydrological studies. The CRCM atmospheric moisture fluxes and storage tendencies show reasonable agreement with the NARR. The long-term moisture flux over the CRB was found to be generally divergent during summer. A systematic bias is observed in the CRCM precipitation and temperature. A quantile-based mapping of the cumulative distribution function is applied for precipitation adjustments. The temperature correction only involves shifting and scaling to adjust mean and variance. The results indicate that the techniques employed for correction are useful for hydrological studies. Bias-correction is also applied to the CRCM future climate. The CRCM bias-corrected data is then used for hydrological modeling of the CRB. The VIC-simulated streamflow exhibits acceptable agreement with observations. The VIC model's internal variables such as snow and soil moisture indicate that the model is capable of simulating internal process variables adequately. The VIC-simulated snow and soil moisture shows the potential of use as an alternative dataset for hydrological studies. Streamflow along with precipitation and temperature are analyzed for trends. No statistically significant trend is observed in the daily precipitation series. Results suggest that an increase in temperature may reduce accumulation of snow during fall and winter. The flow regime may be in transition from a snowmelt dominated regime to a rainfall dominated regime. Results from future climate simulations of the A2 emission scenario indicate a projected increase of streamflow, while the snow depth and duration exhibit a decrease. Soil moisture response to future climate warming shows an overall increase with a greater likelihood of occurrences of higher soil moisture.
Climate Change, Hydrologic Modeling, Canadian Regional Climate Model, Bias Correction, Hydrology, Water Balance