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  • Tummuri. Spandana., Thompson. D.B., 2006: Methodology of Regional Climate Impact Studies for West Texas and its Importance. Texas Section ASCE Spring meeting 2006, Proceedings. In preparation.

The study of impact of climate change on water resources is an important topic of the 21st century. Rapid changes observed in the global climate over the past 100 years compared to those estimates of climate change over the past 1000 years motivated researchers worldwide to study the forcing factors causing such changes in the climate. General circulation models (GCMs) are used to analyze the climate change on a global scale. However, it is an established fact that GCMs are not very efficient in representing regional climate. Impact studies, such as studying the effect of climate change on agricultural practices; water resources, etc, are carried out on a regional scale because the impact is specific to a given region. In current project reported herein, the regional climate impact study is carried out for the Brazos River Basin in West Texas.

Owing to the low precipitation rates and high potential evapotranspiration rates of the West Texas region, it is important to understand the effect of climate change on the hydrologic cycle of the region. The main aim of the research reported herein is to analyze those changes and provide results to the policy makers so they could set up policies for the future in accordance to the changes projected by the models.

The first step of the project was to choose a GCM that represents the climate forcings of the West Texas region. GCM grid outputs were used as input boundary conditions for a regional climate model. The selection of the GCM was based on a careful comparison of the output from 15 GCMs. The comparison was based on two parameters, climate uncertainty and socio-economic uncertainty. The climate uncertainty was addressed by comparing the climate change as projected by several models. The socio-economic uncertainty was addressed by comparing the climate projections by models for different IPCC SRES3 scenarios. Scenarios A2 and B1 were chosen for this project because they represent the worst and best climate change scenarios, respectively. In order to select the appropriate GCM for the study area, the output from each model has to be studied to observe how they represent the climate forcings affecting the climate change in the study

The purpose of this paper is to present results from comparison of 15 GCM models for use in north-central Texas. The results will be applied to an ongoing study of the Upper Brazos River Basin water resources to determine the potential impact of climate change on the water resources of that basin.

1 Ph.D. Candidate, Civil Engineering Department, Texas Tech University, P.O. Box 41023, Lubbock, Texas 79409
2 Associate Professor, Civil Engineering Department, Texas Tech University, P.O. Box 41023, Lubbock, Texas 79409
3 The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) developed long-term emission scenarios in 1990 and again in 1992. The IPCC 1992 scenarios were evaluated in 1995. The evaluations recommended that the driving forces of the emissions should be further analyzed. The IPCC released Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES) in 2000. The SRES reported four different scenario families named A1, A2, B1 and B2 depending on several factors described in detail in the IPCC SRES report.

Last Updated: 2006-03-07

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