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Using a Hydrologic Model to Assess the Performance of Regional Climate Models in a Semi-Arid Watershed in Brazil

1
Instituto Federal da Bahia, Av. Amazonas-351, Zebelê, CEP 45030-220 Vitória da Conquista, Bahia, Brazil
2
Centro de Ciência e Tecnologia do Ambiente e do Mar (MARETEC), Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
3
Centro de Previsão de Tempo e Estudos Climáticos/Instituto de Pesquisas Espaciais - CPTEC/INPE, São Paulo, Brasil
4
Civil Engineering Research and Innovation for Sustainability (CERIS), Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(1), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11010170
Received: 3 December 2018 / Revised: 22 December 2018 / Accepted: 10 January 2019 / Published: 18 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evaluating Hydrological Responses to Climate Change)
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Abstract

This study assessed the impact of climate change on the hydrological regime of the Paraguaçu river basin, northeastern Brazil. Hydrological impact simulations were conducted using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) for 2020–2040. Precipitation and surface air temperature projections from two Regional Climate Models (Eta-HadGEM2-ES and Eta-MIROC5) based on IPCC5—RCP 4.5 and 8.5 scenarios were used as inputs after first applying two bias correction methods (linear scaling—LS and distribution mapping—DM). The analysis of the impact of climate change on streamflow was done by comparing the maximum, average and reference (Q90) flows of the simulated and observed streamflow records. This study found that both methods were able to correct the climate projection bias, but the DM method showed larger distortion when applied to future scenarios. Climate projections from the Eta-HadGEM2-ES (LS) model showed significant reductions of mean monthly streamflow for all time periods under both RCP 4.5 and 8.5. The Eta-MIROC5 (LS) model showed a lower reduction of the simulated mean monthly streamflow under RCP 4.5 and a decrease of streamflow under RCP 8.5, similar to the Eta-HadGEM2-ES model results. The results of this study provide information for guiding future water resource management in the Paraguaçu River Basin and show that the bias correction algorithm also plays a significant role when assessing climate model estimates and their applicability to hydrological modelling. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; Paraguaçu River Basin; semi-arid region; SWAT model; Eta-HadGEM2-ES; Eta-MIROC5; correction bias climate change; Paraguaçu River Basin; semi-arid region; SWAT model; Eta-HadGEM2-ES; Eta-MIROC5; correction bias
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Santos, C.A.S.; Rocha, F.A.; Ramos, T.B.; Alves, L.M.; Mateus, M.; Oliveira, R.P.; Neves, R. Using a Hydrologic Model to Assess the Performance of Regional Climate Models in a Semi-Arid Watershed in Brazil. Water 2019, 11, 170.

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