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  • Nohara, D., A. Kitoh, M. Hosaka, and T. Oki, 2006: Impact of climate change on river discharge projected by multi-model ensemble. J. Hydromet.. Accepted.

This study investigates the projections of river discharge for 24 major rivers in the world during the 21st century simulated by 19 coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models based on the Special Report on Emission Scenarios A1B scenario. In order to reduce model bias and uncertainty, a weighted ensemble mean (WEM) is used for multi-model projections. Although it is difficult to reproduce the present river discharge in any single model, the WEM results produce more accurate reproduction for most rivers, except those affected by anthropogenic water usage. At the end of the 21st century, the annual mean precipitation, evaporation, and runoff increase in high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, southern to eastern Asia and central Africa. In contrast, they decrease in the Mediterranean region, southern Africa, and southern North America. Although the geographical distribution of the changes in precipitation and runoff tends to coincide with that in the river discharge, it should be emphasized that the change in runoff at the upstream region affects the river flow in the downstream region. In high-latitude rivers (Amur, Lena, Mackenzie, Ob, Yenisei, and Yukon), the discharge increases, and the peak timing shifts earlier due to an earlier snowmelt caused by global warming. Discharge tends to decrease for the rivers in Europe to the Mediterranean region (Danube, Euphrates, and Rhine), and southern North America (Rio Grande).

Last Updated: 2006-03-01

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