Floodplains are highly complex and dynamic systems in terms of their hydrology. Thus, they harbor highly specialized floodplain plant species depending on different inundation characteristics. Climate change will most likely alter those characteristics. This study investigates the potential impact of climate change on the inundation characteristics of a floodplain of the Rhine River in Hesse, Germany. We report on the cascading uncertainty introduced through climate projections, climate model structure, and parameter uncertainty. The established modeling framework integrates projections of two general circulation models (GCMs), three emission scenarios, a rainfall–runoff model, and a coupled surface water–groundwater model. Our results indicate large spatial and quantitative uncertainties in the simulated inundation characteristics, which are mainly attributed to the GCMs. Overall, a shift in the inundation pattern, possible in both directions, and an increase in inundation extent are simulated. This can cause significant changes in the habitats of species adapted to these highly-endangered ecosystems.
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