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Interfacing climate and impacts models in

integrated assessment modelling

Nigel Arnell and Tim Osborn

2006

Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research Technical Report 52


Interfacing climate and impacts models
in integrated assessment modelling

Nigel Arnell1 and Tim Osborn2


Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
1
School of Geography, University of Southampton
2
School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia

Report to Tyndall Centre


Project 2-11

Tyndall Centre Technical Report 52

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 1 October 2005


Contents
Section 1 Overview of project work and outcomes

Abstract 1
Objectives 1
Work undertaken 2
Results 2
Contribution to Tyndall Centre research strategy 3
Potential for further work 3
Communication highlights 3

Section 2 Technical Report

1. Introduction 4
1.1 Context 4
1.2 Aims and objectives 5
1.3 Structure of report 5

2. The climate-impact interface 5


2.1 Introduction 5
2.2 Changes in temperature, vapour pressure and cloud cover 6
2.3 Changes in precipitation 7
2.4 Changes in number of wet-days 8

3. The hydrological model 13


3.1 The model and output indicators 13
3.2 Effect of number of repetitions 14
3.3 Simulation of baseline hydrology: relationships between hydrological
indicators 17
3.4 Effect of spatial resolution 20
3.5 Application with climate scenarios constructed using ClimGen 25
3.6 Conclusions 25

4. The water resources impacts models 32


4.1 Introduction 32
4.2 Water resources stress 32
4.2.1 The indicator 32
4.2.2 Effect of scale 33
4.2.3 Effect of different methods of creating climate change scenarios 33
4.2.4 Implications 35
4.3 Flood risk 35
4.3.1 Introduction 35
4.3.2 Grid cell flood risk 37
4.3.3 Effect of climate change on grid cell flood risk 42
4.3.4 Incorporating adaptation 48
4.3.5 Regional and global flood risk 51
4.3.6 Implications 53

5. Climate change impact response functions 54

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5.1 Introduction and approach 54
5.2 Water resources stress 54
5.3 Indicative global flood risk 56

6. Conclusions 59

Acknowledgements 61
References 62

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 3 October 2005


Interfacing climate and impacts modules 4 October 2005
Interfacing climate and impacts models in integrated
assessment modelling
Section 1 - Overview of project work and outcomes

Abstract

Integrated assessment models (IAMs) are increasingly used to inform climate policy.
In principle, they calculate the costs, consequences and benefits of specified policy
measures, taking into account not only mitigation actions but also residual impacts of
climate change and the implications of adaptation. In practice, most attention in IAMs
has been devoted to quantifying the implications of different energy policies for
carbon emissions and economic development. The impacts of climate change tend to
be treated rather simply, and adaptation is rarely considered explicitly at all. Impacts
are either represented by simple "look-up" functions, showing impact as a function of
global temperature change ("climate impact response functions"), or are estimated
using a geographically-explicit spatial impacts module. The second approach is more
robust, but is computationally much more demanding.

This project examined the enhancement of the representation of impacts in integrated


assessment models in general, and the Tyndall Centre CIAM in particular. The focus
was on methodological issues, rather than the interpretation of results. Research in the
project revised the procedures used to create scenarios from climate model output
within the CIAM, enhanced an existing hydrological model, and developed some
modules describing the impacts of climate change on water resources and flood risk
across the entire globe. The project examined the effects of different spatial resolution
on the assessed impacts, the effect of different ways of constructing scenarios, and the
consequences of different underlying assumptions in the impacts models.

Objectives

The broad aim of this project is to develop a methodology for incorporating realistic
representations of impacts into integrated assessment models, and the Tyndall IAM
(CIAM) in particular. The project uses an existing macro-scale geographically-
explicit hydrological model which has already been widely used in global-scale
assessments of the implications of climate change. The specific objectives of the
project are:

(i) to develop an interface between the coarse-scale climate component of the


CIAM and spatially-explicit finer-resolution impacts modules, paying particular
attention to the climate variables necessary to run impacts models;

(ii) to enhance the hydrological model so that it can integrate with the climate
model interface and simulate additional measures of hydrological regime, taking into
account model uncertainty;

(iii) to develop indicative hydrological impacts modules which translate


hydrological regime into measures of water resource and flood impact, and use these
to examine the form of, and uncertainty in, climate impact response functions.

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 1 October 2005


The project focuses on methodological considerations (such as the effects of spatial
resolution and underpinning assumptions), rather than the interpretation of potential
impacts of climate change on water resources and floods at the global and regional
scales.

Work undertaken

Work was undertaken in four areas. First, the climate scenario generator ClimGen was
revised and enhanced to incorporate the effects of year-to-year variability in
precipitation, and more generally to provide scenarios for the range of climate
variables necessary in global-scale impacts assessments. Second, the existing macro-
scale hydrological model (mac-pdm) was revised so that it could read directly
ClimGen output, incorporate multiple-repetitions to minimise the effects of stochastic
variability in rainfall within the model, and output additional measures of the
hydrological regime (specifically, measures of flood regime). Third, a flood impact
module was developed, which simulates indicative average annual flood damage for
each grid cell, weights cell damage by cell population, and produces regional and
global summations of indicative flood risk.

The fourth component of the project used the ClimGen climate scenarios, the revised
macro-scale hydrological model, the new flood impacts module and an existing water
resources impacts module, to examine the effects of underpinning assumptions and
spatial resolution on the estimated global and regional implications of climate change.

Results

The key results of the project are:

(i) Climate, hydrological and impacts modules have been revised and developed
for integration with the Tyndall Centre CIAM.

(ii) The effects of different ways of creating scenarios using ClimGen have been
explored: there are some significant differences between some of the methods, but
two in particular produce very similar results. In general, accounting for changes in
year-to-year variability in precipitation tends to increase the effects of climate change
on water resources scarcity and flood risk.

(iii) Simulating runoff at coarser spatial resolutions does reduce substantially


computation time, and although the visual impression of changes are little altered,
coarsening spatial resolution from 0.5x0.5 through 1x1 to 2x2o does produce
substantial differences in the estimated absolute values of regional and global impacts
of climate change. However, when impacts are expressed in relative terms (relative to
the situation with no climate change) the effects of coarsening resolution are much
smaller.

(iv) Different ways of constructing flood damage functions produce broadly


similar patterns of change and impact, but they can be quantitatively different. The
effect of underlying assumptions therefore needs to be taken into account when
assessing the reliability of estimated global impacts of climate change.

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(v) The indicative climate impact response functions describing effects of
temperature increase on water resources stress and global flood risk do not show the
simple shapes assumed in the simplified look-up functions used in many integrated
assessment models.

Contribution to Tyndall Centre research strategy and overall Centre objectives

The research contributes directly to the development of the Tyndall Centre's capacity
for integrated assessment: it provides an alternative to the "look-up" damage functions
widely used in integrated assessment models to estimate the impacts of climate
change. The research also shows how adaptation can be explicitly incorporated into
the global-scale assessment of some of the impacts of climate change.
The research also provides the foundation for an enhanced assessment of the
implications of global climate change for water resources, and a new and innovative
assessment of the implications for flood risk. It therefore contributes to the
understanding of the global-scale impacts of climate change, and the representation of
the consequences of adaptation.

Potential for further work

There is considerable potential for further work in the following areas:

(i) integration of the hydrological and impact modules more formally into the
Tyndall Centre integrated assessment model;

(ii) development of additional water-related impacts modules (indexing water


resources stress through reservoir storage capacity, for example, or attempting to
characterize implications of hydrological change for water-related ill-health);

(iii) enhancement of the representation of the effects of adaptation: the flood


impacts module at present accounts for adaptation in terms of design standards;

(iv) application of the model(s) to estimate and interpret the global and regional
implications of climate change for water resources scarcity and flood risk.

Communications highlights

Papers are being prepared for submission describing ClimGen and the techniques
developed to produce scenarios for changes in precipitation variability. Early versions
of global and regional damage functions describing the change in water resources
impact with rising temperatures were presented at the February 2005 Exeter
conference on Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change, and are included in the
forthcoming paper in the conference book. Further publications describing the flood
module and change in global flood risk are in preparation.

Arnell, N.W. (2005) Climate change and water resources: a global perspective. In
Schellnhuber, H.J. et al. (eds), Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change. Cambridge
University Press: Cambridge. In press

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 3 October 2005


Interfacing climate and impacts models in integrated
assessment modelling

Section 2 – Project report

1. Introduction

1.1 Context

Integrated assessment models (IAMs) are increasingly used to inform climate policy.
In principle, they calculate the costs, consequences and benefits of specified policy
measures, taking into account not only mitigation actions but also residual impacts of
climate change and the implications of adaptation. In practice, most attention in IAMs
has been devoted to quantifying the implications of different energy policies for
carbon emissions and economic development. The impacts of climate change tend to
be treated rather simply, and adaptation is rarely considered explicitly at all.

There are two ways in which integrated assessment models can include
representations of the impacts of climate change. The first is to use some form of
damage function (also known as a climate impact response function (Fussel et al.,
2003)), where “impact” is assumed to follow a simply-defined relationship with some
indicator such as global temperature change (as in DICE (Nordhaus (1993);
Mastrandrea & Schneider, 2004) and FUND (Tol, 1999; 2002a;b)), and the second is
to embed a geographically-explicit impacts model within the integrated assessment
model (e.g. IMAGE (Rotmans, 1990; Alcamo, 1994; Leemans & Eickhout, 2004)).

The first approach is obviously computationally much more efficient, but there are
four key complications. First, climate impact response functions need to be calibrated
or constructed from empirical evidence. Second, climate impact response functions
will vary with scale (Wilbanks, 2002), and as scale increases issues associated with
the comparison of “winners” and “losers” become important (Wilbanks, 2002). Third,
damages or impacts may not depend directly on temperature (the index widely used as
a measure of climate change), and may be more dependent on changes in, for
example, precipitation. A temperature-based climate impact response function is
therefore best seen as being conditional on a defined associated spatial and seasonal
pattern of precipitation change. Given the large uncertainty in regional precipitation
change, such conditional climate impact response functions are therefore highly
uncertain. Finally, it is difficult to see how to incorporate adaptation explicitly into
climate impact response functions, except through making highly generalised
assumptions about how adaptation changes – everywhere – the shape of the function.

The second approach is conceptually much more convincing and can in principle
incorporate the effects of adaptation, but requires considerably greater computational
resources. There are two additional issues. First, it may be very difficult to construct a
spatially-explicit impacts model capable of application across the entire global
domain. In many sectors generalisable models do not exist, and credible models
would require local calibration. In others, even generalisable models require local
parameters, which may not be available from global data bases 1 . Second, the scale at

1
This also, incidentally, makes it difficult to construct generalisable climate impact response functions

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 4 October 2005


which the model is applied is important. Process-based impacts models tend to be
implemented at the finest spatial scale that input data (principally climate data) are
available. Operating them at coarser spatial scales, for computational reasons, can
produce misleading results because the relationships between driver and response
break down. The gap between coarse scale climate models and finer-scale impacts
models needs to be plugged by downscaling procedures. Most such procedures
concentrate on changes in mean climate, but many impact sectors are sensitive to
changes in variability in climate from year to year or extremes, and such changes are
currently poorly represented in integrated assessment models (Goodess et al., 2003).

1.2 Aims and objectives

The broad aim of this project is to develop a methodology for incorporating realistic
representations of impacts into integrated assessment models, and the Tyndall IAM
(CIAM) in particular. The project uses an existing macro-scale geographically-
explicit hydrological model which has already been widely used in global-scale
assessments of the implications of climate change (Arnell, 2003; 2004). The specific
objectives of the project are:

(i) to develop an interface between the coarse-scale climate component of the


CIAM and spatially-explicit finer-resolution impacts modules, paying particular
attention to the climate variables necessary to run impacts models;

(ii) to enhance the hydrological model so that it can integrate with the climate
model interface and simulate additional measures of hydrological regime, taking into
account model uncertainty;

(iii) to develop indicative hydrological impacts modules which translate


hydrological regime into measures of water resource and flood impact, and use these
to examine the form of, and uncertainty in, climate impact response functions.

1.3 Structure of report

The report is structured to follow the three objectives. Section 2 describes the
development of the climate interface module (ClimGen), and Section 3 summarises
the enhancements to the hydrological model. Section 4 discusses modules to assess
the water resources and flood impact implications of climate change, and Section 5
uses these modules to construct and examine climate impact response functions.
Section 6 draws some general (methodological) conclusions.

2. The climate-impact interface

2.1 Introduction

Integrated assessment models are typically used to assess the global-scale


consequences of a defined policy intervention. This has two key implications. First, it
is necessary to define climate scenarios, for relevant climate variables, at a suitably
fine spatial resolution across the global domain. Second, it is necessary to define these
scenarios, rapidly, for different climate policies. Simple climate models (such as
MAGICC) can rapidly estimate the effects of climate policy on global temperature,

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but provide no direct information either on other climate variables or on the spatial
pattern of change. Global circulation models provide spatial detail (although at scales
too coarse for most impact assessments), but are rarely run for defined climate policy
scenarios. An integrated assessment model therefore needs to combine both these
processes, and in addition create climate scenarios at spatial scales required by impact
assessment models. These scenarios need to represent changes not only in the mean,
but also in the variability in climate (Goodess et al., 2003).

Several climate scenario tools have been developed to provide climate scenarios at a
domain and spatial resolution appropriate to impacts assessment models (including
CLIMPACTS (Kenney et al., 2000), CLIMAPS (Rotmans et al., 1994) and
SCENGEN (Hulme et al., 1995). ClimGen (Mitchell & Osborn, 2005) is a next-
generation climate scenario tool, which creates climate scenarios by applying changes
in climate as simulated by a suite of global climate models to an observed 0.5x0.5
baseline climatology (New et al., 1999; 2000). A fundamental assumption of
ClimGen is that the spatial and temporal pattern in change in climate as simulated by
a global climate model with a given change in global average temperature can be
rescaled to represent the pattern of change in climate associated with a different global
temperature change. ClimGen can provide scenarios down to a spatial resolution of
0.5x0.5o, and uses a range of different scaling methods to construct scenarios for
changes in not only the mean but also the year-to-year variability in climate.

ClimGen (version 1.00: Mitchell & Osborn, 2005) currently incorporates patterns
from five GCMS – HadCM3, CGCM2, CSIRO Mk2, NCAR/DOE PCM and
ECHAM4/OPYC – for eight climate variables (monthly precipitation, number of wet
days, mean, minimum and maximum temperature, diurnal temperature range, vapour
pressure and cloud cover). For each climate model, climate variable and month, a
standardised change field is calculated by dividing change in climate by the change in
global average annual temperature as simulated by the appropriate climate model
between the periods 1961-1990 and 2070-2099 (under A2 emissions). These
standardised change fields can then be rescaled to any global average temperature
change. The standardised change fields are all interpolated statistically onto the
0.5x0.5o grid used by the observed data.

2.2 Changes in temperature, vapour pressure and cloud cover

Scenarios for mean, minimum and maximum temperature, vapour pressure and cloud
cover are all constructed in the same way. A time series spanning the period y = 20xx
to 20yy is created by scaling the appropriate GCM-derived change in mean monthly
climate by the temperature change in year y, and adding the change to the observed
monthly climate time series:

X vgsiym
= o vim + o′
viym
+ (p vgsim
*t gsy ) (2.1)

where the subscripts define variable (v), GCM pattern (g), emissions scenario (s), grid
box (i), year (y) and month (m). 2 ōvim is the mean monthly climate, o’viym is the time
series of interannual anomalies, pvgsim is the absolute change in mean monthly climate,

2
The subscripts v, g and s are dropped in subsequent equations for simplicity

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 6 October 2005


and tgsy is change in global temperature in year y. Where a value falls outside the
range of the physically possible, the value is corrected to the outer limit of that range.

This produces perturbed monthly time series with a gradually changing mean
(because the temperature change tgsy is lower at the beginning of the time horizon than
at the end) but unchanged inter-annual variability. As an illustration, tgsy varies from
3.17 and 4.76oC between 2070 and 2099 under the HadCM2 A2 scenario.

2.3 Changes in precipitation

Four different options are available for producing perturbed time series of monthly
precipitation (Table 2.1). The first – “Method 2” - is the same as used for temperature
(Equation 1). Changes in monthly precipitation or rain-days are added to the observed
time series, producing a perturbed time series with unchanged standard deviation.
This has three principle disadvantages. First, the patterns of change were obtained by
interpolating absolute changes from the coarse-resolution climate model grid. These
are then applied to the observed climatology on the 0.5x0.5o grid, so very large (or
small) changes can be applied to high-resolution grid cells with low (or high)
precipitation. Second, the same average change is applied in each year, so a year with
low precipitation changes by the same number of millimetres as a year with high
precipitation. Third, a simple subtraction can result in “negative” precipitation: such
values must be set to zero.

Method 3 therefore uses a ratio method to derive precipitation fields. Patterns of


change in precipitation, relative to 1961-1990, are calculated from:

~
p = ln ⎛⎜ p p
−1
⎞⎟ (2.2)
im ⎝ fi bi ⎠

where pbi is the simulated baseline precipitation for grid cell i, pfi is the simulated
future precipitation, and ~p is precipitation change for month m and grid cell i. The
im
rescaled future precipitation is calculated from:

⎛⎜ ~ * ⎞⎟
P iym
= o *~
o
im iym
* e ⎝ p im t y ⎠ (2.3)

where Piym is precipitation for grid cell i, year y and month m, ōim is the observed
mean precipitation for month m, õiym is the factor precipitation anomaly for year y and
month m, ~ p is precipitation change for month m, and ty is temperature change for
im
year y. This method preserves the coefficient of variation in year-to-year precipitation.

Method 4 uses the same approach to change mean precipitation, but changes the year-
to-year variation in precipitation by perturbing the parameters of a gamma distribution
describing year to year variation in monthly total precipitation. The difference
between the gamma distribution parameters calculated over the baseline and scenario
periods (in this case HadCM3 A2 2070-2099) is standardised by global temperature
change, and these standardised differences rescaled to a defined global temperature
change.

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Method 5 uses the same approach as Method 4, but instead of using annually-varying
ty to rescale and create a perturbed time series, it uses a temperature change averaged
over the time slice.

Table 2.1 Summary of methods used to estimate precipitation change


Precipitation change Change in year-to-year Temperature change
variability used to rescale
Method 2 Absolute No Varies across time slice
Method 3 Percentage No Varies across time slice
Method 4 Percentage Yes Varies across time slice
Method 5 Percentage Yes Constant across time
slice

Figure 2.1 shows the percentage change in mean annual precipitation under HadCM3
rescaled to a global temperature change of between 3.17 and 4.76oC (corresponding to
A2, 2070-2099) using Methods 2, 3, 4 and 5. Methods 3, 4 and 5 give very similar
changes in average annual precipitation, and produce quite different changes from
Method 2 in several parts of the world. These are primarily where large absolute
changes under Method 2 are applied to low baseline precipitation values, resulting in
very large percentage changes in precipitation. The greatest differences between
Method 3 and Methods 4 and 5 are in east central Africa, where the incorporation of
changes in year-to-year variability reduces the increase in annual precipitation.

Figure 2.2 shows 30-year time series of annual precipitation for ten sample 0.5x0.5o
grid cells. Each time series reproduces the temporal sequencing in the baseline. The
difference between the four methods varies from cell to cell, but in each of the sample
cells the difference between the methods is less than the effect of climate change.
Method 4 tends to give more extreme changes in annual precipitation than Method 3
(which does not alter year to year variability in precipitation). Methods 4 and 5 give
very similar sequences. Both include changes in the mean as well as changes in
variability, but differ in how the global temperature change is applied: Method 4
applies a gradually increasing trend in each year, whilst Method 5 applies the same
average climate change in each year. There is a slight tendency for Method 4 to
produce less extreme precipitation changes in the early years and more extreme
changes in the latter years, compared to Method 5, but the effects are very small.

2.4 Change in number of wet-days

GCMs do not provide realistic representations of the number of wet days (because
precipitation is drizzled across a large grid cell), so changes in wet day frequency
were derived from changes in precipitation. New et al. (2000) found a strong
relationship in the observed climatology between mean monthly wet day frequency
and mean monthly precipitation:

=
(w im) 2.22

a im
(2.4)
o im

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 8 October 2005


where w im is mean monthly wet days for grid cell i and month m, and o im
is mean
monthly precipitation for month m. Rescaled future wet day frequency is then
calculated from:

0.45
W iym
= ( a im * P iym) (2.5)

where Wiym is the number of wet days for grid cell i, month m and year y and Piym is
future precipitation in grid cell i, month m and year y.

The estimated numbers of wet-days varies between Methods 2, 3, 4 and 5 because the
estimated monthly precipitation varies. Figure 2.3 shows the change in mean annual
wet-days under the same scenario as Figure 2.1 using Methods 2, 3, 4 and 5. The
changes, obviously, closely follow changes in annual precipitation (Figure 2.1).

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 9 October 2005


Figure 2.1: Change in average annual precipitation, HadCM3 A2, 2070-2099,
under Methods 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 10 October 2005


Figure 2.2: Time series of annual precipitation for ten sample locations: baseline
and HadCM3 A2, 2070-2099, Methods 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 11 October 2005


Figure 2.3: Change in number of wet days, HadCM3 A2, 2070-2099, under
Methods 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 12 October 2005


3. The hydrological model

3.1 The model and output indicators

The hydrological model (Arnell, 2003; 2004) simulates streamflow across the global
domain at a spatial resolution of 0.5x0.5o, treating each cell as an independent
catchment. Model parameters are not calibrated from site data, but performance has
been validated (Arnell, 1999; 2003).

The model operates at a daily time step. The model is largely deterministic, but
generates daily precipitation from monthly input data stochastically. It is assumed that
daily precipitation follows an exponential distribution, with the coefficient of
variation of daily rainfall assumed constant across the entire globe (in the absence of
real data). The occurrence of precipitation is described by a simple zero-order two-
state Markov model, with no memory from day to day. The stochastically-generated
daily precipitation is then rescaled to maintain the correct monthly total. Precipitation
falls as snow if temperature is below a defined threshold, and snow melts once
temperature rises above another threshold. Precipitation is intercepted by vegetation,
and only that in excess of interception capacity (a function of vegetation type) falls to
the ground. The rest is evaporated. Potential evaporation is calculated using the
Penman-Monteith formula, with stomatal and aerodynamic resistances and leaf area
dependent on vegetation type. Each cell is divided into two land cover classes – grass
and “not grass” – with the relative proportions of the two varying with the “not grass”
vegetation type. Each part of the cell has the same inputs and soil properties, and the
output of the two parts is summed to give total cell response.

Water that reaches the ground becomes “quickflow” if the soil is saturated and
infiltrates if the soil is unsaturated. Soil moisture is depleted by evaporation and
drainage to groundwater and the stream (“slowflow”). Actual evaporation is a
function of potential evaporation and soil moisture content. The soil moisture storage
capacity varies statistically across the cell / catchment, which means in practice that a
variable proportion of the cell area is saturated at any one time: “quickflow” is
generated from this portion of the cell. This is the most important aspect of the
hydrological model, as it means that streamflow can be generated from at least part of
the catchment at almost any time. Conventional water balance models treat the
catchment as a single unit which has a uniform soil moisture content and deficit: no
quickflow therefore tends to be generated during summer, when the soil is
unsaturated, and this is unrealistic. The absolute magnitude of soil moisture storage
capacity is a function of the soil texture and rooting depth of the vegetation.

The two sources of streamflow (“quickflow” and “slowflow”) are routed separately to
the outlet of the cell. Although the model operates at a daily time step, streamflow is
only output at a monthly resolution because the routing parameters vary with
catchment geology and are difficult to estimate from available data: “typical”
parameter values are therefore used.

The model is run using the time series of monthly climate data to simulate a series of
monthly streamflow data for each cell. Long-term mean annual and monthly runoff
and the coefficient of variation of annual runoff are calculated from the time series.
The model calculates the 10-year return period low annual runoff by interpolation

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 13 October 2005


from the annual runoff time series, as a measure of “drought”. The flood frequency
relationship is determined by fitting generalised extreme value (GEV) distributions
(by probability-weighted moments) to the maximum daily and monthly runoff in each
calendar year. The daily flood frequency distribution provides a better conceptual
characterisation of flood risk for a relatively small (0.5x0.5o or approximately
2500km2) catchment than the monthly frequency distribution, but is very much
influenced by the assumed streamflow routing parameters. The monthly, and to a
greater extent the daily, flood frequency distributions are also affected by the precise
disaggregation of precipitation from the monthly to daily scale, and different runs of
the model produce different frequency curves.

The hydrological model was rewritten slightly to link directly with output from
ClimGen and to explore (i) the number of repetitions necessary to produce robust
estimates of output indicators, and (ii) the effect of the spatial scale at which the
model is applied on estimated effects of climate change.

3.2 Effect of number of repetitions

The original version of the hydrological model makes one simulation per grid cell.
However, whilst the stochastically-generated daily precipitation is rescaled to match
input monthly precipitation, different realisations of the model produce different
distributions of daily precipitation through the month. This has little effect on
simulated average annual runoff, but potentially has a greater effect on measures of
extreme hydrological behaviour. The model was therefore revised to allow n
repetitions for each grid cell, with the value for each of the indicators summarised
above taken as the mean across these n repetitions. The standard deviation across
these n repetitions is also calculated, and the standard error of the estimated indicator
determined.

Figure 3.1 illustrates the effect of different stochastic disaggregations on estimated


flood frequency curves in ten sample grid cells. Each graph shows ten different
realisations, with annual maximum daily flow plotted against the reduced variate y=-
ln(-ln(1-1/T))). There is clearly considerable variability in estimated flood magnitudes
(the 100-year flood corresponds to y=4.6), with the greatest variability in drier
regions.

Figure 3.2 shows the standard error of four hydrological indicators (as a percentage of
the mean) with number of repetitions n varying between 5 and 50, for ten sample grid
cells. Twenty repetitions are made for each sample size n. The solid lines represent
the mean standard error across these twenty repetitions, and the dotted lines show the
highest and lowest standard errors. Three conclusions can be drawn from the figure.
First, standard error decreases with number of repetitions. Increasing the number of
repetitions from five to twenty generally halves the standard error, and increasing the
number of repetitions beyond twenty has relatively little additional effect. Second, the
standard error for estimated long-term mean runoff is typically very low (well under
1% even with only five repetitions), and standard errors increase as the indicator
represents more extreme hydrological conditions: with twenty repetitions the standard
error of the 10-year return period maximum daily runoff is typically around 3%.
Third, standard errors, and the effect of number of repetitions, vary from cell to cell.
In general, the drier the cell, the greater the standard error of estimate.

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 14 October 2005


S o ut her n Sp ain So ut her n E ng l and
20 12

18
10
16
14
8
12
10 6
8
4
6
4
2
2

0 0
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Reduced var i ate y Reduced var i ate y

F inl and E C hi na
16 70

14 60

12
50
10
40
8
30
6

20
4

2 10

0 0
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Reduced var i ate y Reduced var i ate y

S W U SA N E U SA
14 20
18
12
16
10
14

8 12
10
6
8

4 6

4
2
2
0 0
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Reduced var i ate y Reduced var i ate y

S E B r asi l G hana
45 35

40
30
35
25
30

25 20

20
15
15
10
10

5 5

0 0
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Reduced var i ate y Reduced var i ate y

S A f r i ca S E A ust r al i a
35 18

30
16
14
25
12
20 10

15 8
6
10
4
5 2

0 0
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 0 1 2 3 4 5 6

Reduced var i ate y Reduced var iat e y

Figure 3.1: Frequency distributions of annual maximum daily flow for ten sample
grid cells, with ten realisations for each cell

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 15 October 2005


S o ut her n S p ai n S o ut her n E ng l and
10 10
9 9
8 8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
0
0
0 10 20 30 40 50 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
Number of r epet it ions Number of r epeti ti ons

Annual r unof f Dr ought r unof f Annual r unof f Dr ought r unof f


10-year max mon 10-year max day 10-year max mon 10-year max day

F i nl and E China
10 10
9 9
8 8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
0 0
0 10 20 30 40 50 0 10 20 30 40 50
Number of r epet it ions Number of r epet it ions
Annual r unof f Dr ought r unof f Annual r unof f Dr ought r unof f
10- year max mon 10- year max day 10- year max mon 10- year max day

SW USA NE USA
10 10
9 9
8 8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
0 0
0 10 20 30 40 50 0 10 20 30 40 50

Number of r epet it ions Number of r epet it ions


Annual r unof f Dr ought r unof f Annual r unof f Dr ought r unof f
10- year max mon 10- year max day 10- year max mon 10- year max day

SE Brasil Ghana
10 10
9 9
8 8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
0 0
0 10 20 30 40 50 0 10 20 30 40 50
Number of r epet it ions Number of r epet it ions
Annual r unof f Dr ought r unof f Annual r unof f Dr ought r unof f
10- year max mon 10- year max day 10- year max mon 10- year max day

S Africa SE Aus tralia


10 10
9 9
8 8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
0 0
0 10 20 30 40 50 0 10 20 30 40 50
Number of r epet it ions Number of r epet it ions
Annual r unof f Dr ought r unof f Annual r unof f Dr ought r unof f
10- year max mon 10- year max day 10- year max mon 10- year max day

Figure 3.2: Standard error of estimated annual runoff, drought runoff, and 10-year
return period maximum monthly and daily runoff, with increasing
number of repetitions

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 16 October 2005


The results of this analysis suggest that as few as five repetitions would be sufficient
to produce robust estimates of average annual runoff, but that for the other indicators
twenty repetitions would be necessary.

3.3 Simulation of baseline hydrology: relationships between hydrological


indicators

Figure 3.3 shows eight indicators of the simulated 0.5x0.5o baseline (1961-1990)
hydroclimatic regime, calculated from the average of 10 repetitions (n=10). The first
three (annual precipitation, potential evaporation and annual runoff) are indicators of
the annual water balance. The coefficient of variation of annual runoff is a measure of
year-to-year variability in annual runoff, and the 10-year return period annual runoff
as a percentage of mean annual runoff is a measure of drought magnitude. The
remaining two indicators (CV of maximum monthly runoff and the GEV shape
parameter k of the distribution of annual maximum monthly runoff) represent flood
regime.

Simulated runoff is consistent with maps of observed annual runoff (Arnell, 2003).
The CV of annual runoff is also consistent with observed values (the observed global
average for catchments with an area less than 10,000 km2 is 0.48: McMahon et al.,
1992). CV increases with aridity, and the 10-year drought as a percentage of the mean
decreases. The CV of maximum monthly runoff shows a similar pattern to the CV of
annual runoff, but is generally higher, and the GEV parameter k of maximum monthly
runoff shows a relationship with aridity.

Figure 3.4 shows relationships between different hydrological indicators across the
60680 0.5x0.5o grid cells with data. Of particular significance are the relationships
between the different measures of variability. There is a clear positive relationship
between the CV of annual runoff and the CVs of annual maximum monthly and daily
runoff, and a very strong relationship between the CVs of maximum monthly and
daily runoff: in general, CV increases from annual runoff, through annual maximum
monthly runoff, and is greatest for annual maximum daily runoff. There is also
(unsurprisingly) a strong relationship between the CV of maximum monthly (and
daily) runoff and the parameter k of the GEV distribution.

There are no published global summaries of parameters of flood frequency


distributions, but comparisons with published frequency curves (e.g. Farquharson et
al., 1992) suggest that whilst simulated CVs of maximum flows are realistic,
simulated k values are too low (suggesting that simulated maxima are not sufficiently
negatively skewed). This is because peak flows are frequently dependent on localised,
short-duration intense rainfall events which are not well represented in the macro-
scale hydrological model. In fact, any lumped catchment model will be unable to
simulate well extreme flood flows where flood-producing rainfall is concentrated in a
part of the catchment.

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 17 October 2005


Figure 3.3 Characteristics of the simulated baseline (1961-1990) hydrological
regime (0.5x0.5o resolution)

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Figure 3.4: Relationships between dimensions of the baseline hydrological regime:
0.5x0.5o resolution

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 19 October 2005


3.4 Effect of spatial resolution

At a spatial resolution of 0.5x0.5o, there are around 61,000 grid cells covering the land
surface of the globe (excluding Antarctica). Simulating runoff at this resolution, with
10 repetitions per grid cell, takes approximately 4.5 hours on a Pentium IV PC with
1.2 Ghz processing speed. With a resolution of 1x1o there are only around 16,000 grid
cells, and simulation time is reduced to just over one hour; reducing the resolution to
2x2o results in approximately 4700 cells and a simulation time of approximately 15
minutes.

Figures 3.5 and 3.6 show the same hydrological variables as Figure 3.3, but for spatial
resolutions of 1x1o and 2x2o respectively. All three figures show the same broad
spatial patterns, although the coarser resolution of Figure 3.6 is apparent. Visually,
there therefore is little difference between running the hydrological model at different
spatial resolutions.

Figure 3.7 shows the relationship between indicators of annual runoff at a spatial
resolution of 0.5x0.5o and 1x1o (left) and 2x2o (right). There is, obviously, a large
scatter, with scatter increasing as resolution reduces from 1x1 to 2x2o. There is also a
clear tendency for both average annual runoff and the CV of annual runoff to reduce
as spatial resolution coarsens. The bottom two panels of Figure 3.7 show average
annual runoff accumulated to the watershed scale (with around 1200 watersheds at the
global scale). The effect of reducing spatial resolution is less apparent, but there is
still a tendency for runoff to reduce as spatial resolution becomes coarser. Watershed-
scale runoff is used in the calculation of water resources stress indicators (see next
section).

Figure 3.8 shows the relationship between indicators of maximum monthly runoff at a
spatial resolution of 0.5x0.5o and 1x1o (left) and 2x2o (right), and Figure 3.9 shows
the same for maximum daily runoff. Again, there is considerable scatter, with a
tendency for the coefficient of variation in maximum monthly or daily runoff to
reduce as spatial resolution reduces. Although there is scatter, there is little systematic
change in the shape parameter k as resolution reduces.

The implications of varying spatial resolution for indicators of water resources stress
(using watershed runoff) and flood risk (using measures of the variability in
maximum monthly and daily runoff) are explored in Section 4.

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 20 October 2005


Figure 3.5 Characteristics of the simulated baseline (1961-1990) hydrological
regime: 1x1o resolution

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Figure 3.6 Characteristics of the simulated baseline (1961-1990) hydrological
regime: 2x2o resolution

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 22 October 2005


Figure 3.7: Relationship between indicators of annual runoff at different scales:
0.5x0.5 and 1x1o (left) and 0.5x0.5 and 2x2o (right)

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 23 October 2005


Figure 3.8: Relationship between indicators of variability in monthly maximum
runoff at different scales: 0.5x0.5 and 1x1o (left) and 0.5x0.5 and 2x2o
(right)

Figure 3.9: Relationship between indicators of variability in daily maximum runoff


at different scales: 0.5x0.5 and 1x1o (left) and 0.5x0.5 and 2x2o (right)

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 24 October 2005


3.5 Application with climate scenarios constructed using ClimGen

As outlined in Section 2, different variants on a given climate change scenario can be


constructed using ClimGen by using different methods to scale different climate
indicators. The hydrological consequences of using these different methods were
explored, using the HadCM3 A2 scenario for the 2080s as the base case (and a spatial
resolution of 0.5x0.5o).

Figures 3.10 to 3.13 shows the percentage change in average annual rainfall and
potential evaporation using Methods 2 to 5 respectively, together with percentage
changes in average annual runoff, drought runoff (the 10-year return period low
annual runoff), the 10-year return period maximum monthly runoff, and the 10-year
return period maximum daily runoff.

The precise spatial patterns of change are not important here (they depend largely on
the GCM pattern of change in precipitation), but two “methodological” conclusions
can be drawn. First, the percentage changes in indicators of extreme hydrological
behaviour tend to be greater than the percentage change in measures of average
annual runoff. Second, the broad patterns of change under Methods 2, 3, 4 and 5 are
similar, but with some local differences. The differences between Methods 2 and 3
reflect the differences in precipitation change shown in Figure 2.1. Method 4 tends to
give more widespread increases in maximum runoff than Method 3, because not only
the mean but also the coefficient of variation of input precipitation is changed.
Methods 4 and 5 give very similar results, showing that using time-varying or
averaged temperature changes makes little difference.

Figure 3.14 shows the flood frequency curves for ten sample grid cells, with scenarios
constructed using Methods 2, 3, 4 and 5. Methods 4 and 5 are virtually identical in
most grid cells (with the exception of the southern African cell), and can give very
different frequency curves to Method 3. In most, the inclusion of changes in year-to-
year variability increases flood peaks for a given return period (NE USA, Brasil,
southern England, Finland), and in others the inclusion of variability offsets the effect
of a reduction in mean precipitation (Ghana, SE Australia and China, for example).
Method 2 usually produces similar results to Method 3, with the biggest differences in
the south west and north east USA cells.

3.6 Conclusions

This section has described the refinement of a macro-scale hydrological model so that
it can be incorporated as a component in an integrated assessment model, and
explored (i) the number of simulations necessary to achieve stable output results, (ii)
the effect of spatial scale on simulated runoff, and (iii) the effect of different ways of
creating scenarios from the climate module on estimated changes in hydrological
characteristics. The key conclusions are:

(i) For measures of average hydrological behaviour, as few as five repetitions


produce robust and stable results; for measures of extreme behaviour,
however, around 20 repetitions are necessary.

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 25 October 2005


(ii) Simulated average runoff is close to observed values, but simulated flood
frequency curves are generally too "flat", thereby underestimating the
frequency of relatively large floods.

(iii) Reducing the spatial scale at which the hydrological model is applied reduces
computation time, but tends to lead to lower estimates of runoff and its
variability than when the model is applied at 0.5x0.5o.

(iv) Whilst there are broad similarities in the scenarios produced using Methods 2,
3, 4 and 5, there are some key differences. Methods 2 and 3 produce very
different changes in precipitation where the climate model overestimates
baseline precipitation: large absolute changes in precipitation due to climate
change will in these cases be applied to small absolute baseline precipitation,
producing much larger changes in precipitation than if percentage changes had
been applied. Methods 4 and 5 tend to produce very similar changes, and both
frequently result in more extreme changes in the frequency of high and low
flow extremes than Method 3 which assumes no change in year to year
precipitation variability.

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 26 October 2005


Figure 3.10: Percentage change in components of the hydrological regime:
HadCM3 A2 scenario for the 2080s, Method 2

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Figure 3.11: Percentage change in components of the hydrological regime:
HadCM3 A2 scenario for the 2080s, Method 3

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Figure 3.12: Percentage change in components of the hydrological regime:
HadCM3 A2 scenario for the 2080s, Method 4

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Figure 3.13: Percentage change in components of the hydrological regime:
HadCM3 A2 scenario for the 2080s, Method 5

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Figure 3.14: Frequency curves for ten sample grid cells, under baseline climate and
2080s climate constructed from the HadCM3 A2 scenario using
Methods 2, 3, 4 and 5

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4. The water resources impacts models

4.1 Introduction

This section describes the construction of indicators of the water resources impact of
climate change which use the hydrological output generated by the hydrological
module. Indicators are constructed to represent the implications of climate change for
water resources stress and global riverine flood risk. This section concentrates on the
implications of spatial scale (0.5x0.5, 1x1 or 2x2o) for the indicators, and the effects
of different ways of constructing scenarios using ClimGen on the estimated effects of
climate change. Section 5 describes the construction of climate impact response
functions.

4.2 Water resource stress

4.2.1 The indicator

Water resources stress is indexed by watershed-scale average annual runoff per capita:
a water-stressed watershed is assumed to be one with less than 1000 m3/capita/year. A
threshold of 1700 m3/capita/year is often used to separate stressed from non-stressed
watersheds (Falkenmark et al., 1989), with the threshold of 1000 m3/capita/year
representing high stress.

Each of the 0.5x0.5o grid cells is allocated to one of 1162 discrete watershed units,
originally defined by Klepper (1995) and refined at the University of Kassel,
Germany. Watershed areas range from 2,240 km2 (i.e. one grid cell) to just under 2
million km2, with a mean of 110,000 km2. Total annual runoff within each watershed
is calculated simply by summing runoff in all the constituent 0.5x.0.5o grid cells.
Runoff simulated at the 1x1 and 2x2o scales is disaggregated to the 0.5x.0.5o
resolution before watershed totals are calculated, by assuming all the 0.5x.0.5o cells
within a 1x1 or 2x2o cell have the same runoff.

Population in each watershed by year was constructed using national-level population


projections to rescale gridded 1995 population data (Arnell et al., 2004; Arnell, 2004).
Three population projections are used, corresponding to the SRES A1/B1, A2 and B2
scenarios.

A simple measure of the impact of climate change is the number of people who move
into, or out of, the water-stressed category. It is not appropriate simply to determine
the net change, because this assumes that “winners” exactly compensate “losers”, and
this is not necessarily the case: the economic and social costs of people becoming
water-stressed are likely to outweigh the economic and social benefits of people
ceasing to be water-stressed. Also, the increase in runoff tends to occur during the wet
season, and if not stored will lead to little benefit during the dry season, and may be
associated with an increased frequency of flooding (Arnell, 2003). A more
complicated measure combines the number of people who move into (out of) the
stressed category with the numbers of people already in the stressed category who
experience an increase (decrease) in water stress. The key element here is to define

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 32 October 2005


what characterises a “significant” change in runoff, and hence water stress. Because
the variation in runoff from year to year varies between watersheds, a given
percentage change has a different significance from location to location: a decrease in
mean runoff of 5% may be much more extreme in one watershed than in another
which has higher year-to-year variability. A “significant” change is defined as
occurring when the change in mean runoff is more than standard deviation of the
long-term mean runoff. The standard deviation of 30-year mean runoff was
determined for each cell using eight independent 30-year periods from the 1860-2100
HadCM3 “control-run” experiment (Gordon et al., 2000).

4.2.2 Effect of scale

Table 4.1 summarises the numbers of people living in watersheds with less than 1000
m3/capita/year in 1995, 2025, 2055 and 2085, in the absence of climate change, under
the three population scenarios and with runoff simulated at different spatial
resolutions. Figure 4.1 shows the distribution of resources per capita in 1995 at the
three resolutions.

Table 4.1 Total numbers of people (millions) living in water-stressed watersheds,


with no climate change
A1/B1 A2 B2
0.5x0.5 1x1 2x2 0.5x0.5 1x1 2x2 0.5x0.5 1x1 2x2
19951 1517 1700 1623 1517 1700 1623 1517 1700 1623
2025 3008 3462 3520 3404 4032 4010 3018 3569 3615
2055 3592 4206 4202 6472 6727 6799 4275 4839 4828
2085 3067 3629 3679 8265 9089 8866 4989 5270 5398
Water stressed watersheds have less than 1000m3/capita/year
1
No difference between population projections

Simulating runoff at 1x1 and 2x2o resolution produces slightly higher estimates of the
numbers of people living in water-stressed watersheds than simulating runoff at
0.5x0.5o. As shown in Section 3, simulating runoff at a coarser resolution tends to
produce less runoff. The difference in population totals between resolutions is largely
due to reductions in simulated runoff in south Asia and, to a lesser extent, Europe.

4.2.3 Effect of different methods of creating climate change scenarios

Table 4.2 shows the numbers of people living in water-stressed watersheds in 2085,
under the A2 population projection, using Methods 2, 3, 4 and 5 to create scenarios
(based on HadCM3 projections) and at different spatial resolutions: the numbers can
be compared to those in Table 4.1. Table 4.3 shows the numbers of people with an
increase in water-resources stress, under the A2 population projection, again by
scenario method and spatial resolution.

With a spatial resolution of 0.5x0.5o, the different methods produce very similar
estimates of the numbers of people living in water-stressed watersheds with climate
change. The totals increase slightly under method 2, but decrease slightly under the
other methods, due largely to populous watersheds in east Asia moving out of the
stressed category. The different methods of creating scenarios result in greater
differences in the estimated number of people living in watersheds with an increase in
water-stress (i.e. those living in watersheds becoming “water-stressed” due to climate

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 33 October 2005


change, but those living in already-stressed watersheds with a significant reduction in
runoff: Table 4.3). Under Method 3, around 140 million fewer people are deemed to
suffer an increase in water-stress, compared to Method 2. Method 3 produces more
stressed people in central America and Europe than Method 2, but these are more than
offset by reductions in stressed people in south and east Asia (matching the
differences in change in runoff). Methods 4 and 5 produce virtually identical results,
but differ from those of Method 3. Smaller reductions in runoff under Method 4 in
parts of western Africa, south Asia, South America, western Europe and central Asia
mean fewer people in these regions suffer an increase in water stress; these are offset
slightly by greater decreases in runoff, and hence greater numbers of people with an
increase in water stress, in eastern and southern Africa and the Arabian peninsula.

Table 4.2: Numbers of people living in water-stressed watersheds in 2085 with


HadCM3 A2 climate change, A2 population projection
0.5x0.5 1x1 2x2
No climate change 8265 9089 8865
Method 2 8344 9212 9334
Method 3 8214 9416 9265
Method 4 8016 9183 9083
Method 5 8034 9183 9074

Table 4.3: Numbers of people with an increase in water resources stress in 2085
with HadCM3 A2 climate change, A2 population projection
0.5x0.5 1x1 2x2
Method 2 2800 3600 3832
Method 3 2665 3753 3826
Method 4 2491 3492 3410
Method 5 2489 3464 3432

At a spatial resolution of 1x1o, climate change increases the number of people living
in water-stressed watersheds under each method, because unlike at the 0.5x0.5o scale,
climate change does not significantly increase runoff in a number of populous
Chinese watersheds. The numbers of people with an increase in water resources stress
varies with method used to create climate scenarios. Method 3 results in a slightly
larger estimated impact of climate change than Method 2. Methods 4 and 5 are again
virtually identical, but unlike at the 0.5x0.5o scale, produce substantially smaller
estimates of the effects of climate change than Method 2. This is largely because of
smaller reductions in runoff in Europe.

At a spatial resolution of 2x2o, climate change again increases the numbers of people
living in water-stressed watersheds, and produces very similar results to the 1x1o
resolution.

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 34 October 2005


4.2.4 Implications

The analysis in this section shows that the spatial scale at which runoff is simulated
affects the total numbers of people in water-stressed watersheds and the estimated
effects of climate change. The coarser the resolution, the greater the number of people
estimated to be living in water-stressed watersheds, because simulated runoff tends to
be lower, and the greater the apparent effect of climate change.

There is also a difference in the apparent effect of climate change with the four
different methods of creating climate change scenarios. Methods 4 and 5 produce
virtually identical results (because they produce little difference in estimated average
annual runoff), but the differences in runoff in some watersheds resulting from the
application of Methods 2, 3 and 4/5 result in differences in the estimated global
impact of climate change.

4.3 Flood risk

4.3.1 Introduction

There have been a few studies into the potential effects of climate change on flood
flows and flood frequencies (e.g. Reynard et al., 2001; Bronstert, 2003; Milly et al.,
2002), but so far no studies into the implications of climate change for flood risk as
measured by flood damages.

Flood “risk” is frequently expressed in terms of the frequency with which flooding
occurs (see Milly et al. (2002) for an example). However, a more formal definition of
risk incorporates not only the likelihood of occurrence but also the consequences of an
event when it occurs. This definition, used in risk assessments, is formally stated as

risk = probability × consequence (5.1)

Different sized-floods have different probabilities and consequences, so flood risk is


best indexed by the average annual flood damage, calculated from


AAD = ∫ x f ( x) dx (5.2)
0

where x is flood damage and f(x) is the probability density function of flood damages.
The “average annual” flood damage is actually a rather abstract concept, because the
annual distribution of flood damages is highly skewed. In the vast majority of years
damages will be zero; rarely, damages will be very high. The probability density
function of flood damages could conceptually be constructed from a large sample of
annual flood losses, but this is virtually never possible because exposure to loss varies
over time and a very long record would be necessary to obtain robust parameter
estimates (given that most years would have zero damages). The probability density
function of flood damages is therefore estimated by combining the probability density
function of flood magnitudes (estimated using conventional flood frequency analysis
techniques) with a function relating flood magnitude to flood damage (Figure 4.1).

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 35 October 2005


This assumes, of course, that flood damages are a simple function of one dimension of
flooding, namely flood peak magnitude.

Flood magnitude and frequency Damage-magnitude relationship


100
5

4.5
80
4
Flood magnitude X

Flood damage Y
3.5

3 60

2.5

2 40
1.5

1
20
0.5

0
0
0 1 2 3 4 5
Exceedance probability p(x>X) Flood magnitude X

Damage and frequency

80

70
Average annual flood damage is
60 the area under this curve
Damage Y

50

40
AADF = ∫ y f ( y )dy = ∫ F ( y ) dF
30

20

10

Exceedance probability p(y>Y)

Figure 4.1: Estimation of average annual flood damages

Estimates of average annual flood damages have been made for a great many
locations in many countries, primarily to assist in the assessment of the economic
feasibility of flood defence schemes. There has, however, only been one published
attempt so far to examine the potential effect of climate change on average annual
flood damages. This was undertaken as part of the UK Foresight investigation into
future river and coastal flood risk (Flood and Coastal Defence Foresight Project,
2004). A flood frequency relationship was estimated for each 1x1 km grid cell within
England and Wales, using generalised relationships between flood magnitude and
catchment characteristics, and combined with estimated damage functions based on
numbers of properties, topographical variation within a grid cell, and standards of
service of flood protection. The effects of climate change were assessed by altering
the standards of service. This approach is necessarily more generalised than would be

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 36 October 2005


applied to an individual flood-prone location, but still requires far more information
than is available if flood risk is to be assessed across the global domain.

An approach to the generalised assessment of the indicative effects of climate change


on riverine flood risk across the global domain was therefore developed, involving
two stages.

The first stage estimates grid cell indicative average annual flood damages, by
combining the grid cell flood frequency curve (as described by the fitted GEV
distribution: section 3.1) with a generalised damage function relating flood magnitude
to flood damage.

The second stage multiplies grid cell “average annual flood damage” by grid cell
population, and sums across cells to produce watershed, regional or global totals of
“indicative flood risk”. By scaling grid cell “damages” with population, this index
does not take into account variations across space in the absolute economic value of
property exposed to flood loss or the varying relationship between impacts on people
and property.

Section 4.3.2 examines in more detail the construction of grid cell average annual
flood damages, looking at the effects of using different generalised damage functions,
different indicators of flood regime, and different spatial scales for the simulation of
hydrological regimes. Section 4.3.3 explores the effect of the different ways of
constructing scenarios from ClimGen for the estimated effect of climate change.
Section 4.3.4 describes the calculation of regional and global flood risk, again
considering the effects of spatial scale and scenario construction method. Section
4.3.5 describes how adaptation can be incorporated into the assessment of the
implications of climate change.

4.3.2 Grid cell flood risk

It is impossible to construct realistic damage functions for each grid cell across the
world: the relationship between flood magnitude and damage varies with the shape of
the floodplain and the disposition of exposed properties. It is therefore necessary to
develop generalised damage functions which can be applied consistently in each grid
cell. The two key issues in the construction of a generalised damage function are (i)
the shape of the relationship between flood magnitude and flood damage, and (ii) the
return period at which damage begins.

Figure 4.2 shows three different damage functions, all with the following general
form:

Damq =
(Q − Qo ) b

(4.3)
a

where Damq is the damage at flood magnitude Q, Qo is the magnitude at which


damage begins, b controls the shape of the damage function. The parameter a is
calculated from

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 37 October 2005


a=
(Q z − Q o) b

(Dam − Dam ) z o
(4.4)

where Damz is damage at flood magnitude Qz and Damo is the damage at Qo (i.e.
zero). Qz is fixed to be a constant multiple of Qo.

Damage functions
250

200

150
Damage

100

50

0
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Flood magnitude

Squared Root Linear

Figure 4.2: Generalised damage functions, with b=2 (squared), b=0.5 (root) and
b=1 (linear), and Qz = 1.5 x Qo

The effect of three generalised damage functions (squared, root and linear) on
estimated grid cell flood risk are explored in this section, together with the effect of
damage beginning in a flood (Qo) with a return period of 10 or 20 years. Even 20
years is probably a low return period for the onset of flood damage, but there is no
information at a global scale on the frequency with which flood damage in
unprotected floodplains occurs.

Figure 4.3 shows the global distribution of grid cell average annual damage, using the
three damage functions and two different damage thresholds, with flood frequency
parameters calculated at a spatial resolution of 0.5x0.5o from daily maximum flows.
In each case, grid cell average annual damage has been scaled by the global average.
Using this rescaled metric, there is clearly little difference between damage thresholds
of 10 and 20 years, and the broad pattern of average annual damage is very consistent
between the three damage functions: grid-cell damages are above the global average
in drier cells, and below in wetter cells. The squared damage function gives the
greatest variation in damages across space, and the root function the least.

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 38 October 2005


Figure 4.3: Grid-cell indicative average annual damage, under the baseline climate

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 39 October 2005


The relationships between the different damage functions and thresholds are
summarised in Figure 4.4. The top two panels compare the three damage functions,
showing the greater variability from cell to cell with the square function. The third
panel shows the relationship between average annual damages (rescaled using the
global average) with damage thresholds of 10 and 20 years, assuming a linear damage
function. There is a tendency for variability between cells to be slightly greater with
the 10-year threshold than the 20-year threshold.

Figure 4.4: Grid-cell average annual damage, using daily frequency distributions,
with different damage functions and damage thresholds

Figure 4.5 shows the relationship between average annual damage calculated with the
linear damage function (damage threshold of 10 years) and the ratio of annual runoff
to annual rainfall, the coefficient of variation of maximum daily runoff, and the GEV
shape parameter k. There is some relationship with aridity, but by far the strongest
relationships are, clearly, with the CV and GEV shape parameter. The spatial patterns
in Figure 4.3 therefore map most closely onto the spatial patterns in these two
variables (Figure 3.3).

The spatial pattern of average annual damage using the parameters of maximum
monthly runoff is very similar to those shown in Figure 4.3. Figure 4.6 shows the
strength of the relationship between average annual damages estimated from daily and
monthly maxima.

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 40 October 2005


Figure 4.5: Relationship between grid cell average annual damage and indicators
of hydrological regime

Figure 4.6: Relationship between grid-cell average annual damage, using daily and
monthly frequency distributions

Figure 4.7 summarises the effect of simulating runoff at different spatial resolutions
on grid-cell average annual damage, assuming a linear damage function, a damage
threshold return period of 10 years and with flood frequency parameters estimated
from annual maximum daily flows. There is clearly a relationship between grid cell
damage at the three resolutions (as implied by the relationships between maximum
daily flows shown in Figure 3.9), but there is considerable scatter. The scatter is
greater for the squared damage function, but lower for the root damage function.

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 41 October 2005


Figure 4.7: Effect of spatial resolution on grid cell average annual damage

4.3.3 Effect of climate change on grid cell flood risk

Figure 4.8 shows the effect of climate change (HadCM3 a2, 2080s, Method 3) on
grid-cell average annual damage under the three damage functions, with a damage
threshold of 10 years (under the baseline climate) and frequency parameters estimated
from maximum daily and monthly runoff. The relationship between flood magnitude
and flood damage is assumed to remain unchanged as climate change – explicitly
assuming no adaptation – and changes in average annual damage in each grid cell
therefore reflect changes in the frequency with which given flood magnitudes occur.
The three damage functions produce similar spatial patterns of change – similar to the
changes in the magnitude of the 10-year return period maximum daily runoff shown
in Figure 3.11 – but the range in change between cells varies. The greatest variation in
percentage impact is with the squared damage function, and the least with the root
damage function. Methods 2, 4 and 5 produce broadly similar patterns of change, as
does the assumption of a 20-year return period threshold for damage and the use of
monthly, rather than daily, maxima.

The top two panels in Figure 4.9 show the relationship between the percentage change
in cell average annual damage under the different damage functions, with a damage
threshold of 10 years: the relationships are clearly very strong, and the greater range
in change with the squared function is clear. The bottom left panel of Figure 4.9
shows the relationship between percentage change in average annual damage with the
linear damage function and thresholds of 10 and 20 years. There is a close relationship
again, with a tendency for slightly greater percentage changes with the 20-year return
period threshold. The final panel of Figure 4.9 shows the relationship between the
change in average annual damage using the linear damage function and a 10-year
return period threshold, and frequency parameters estimated from maximum daily and
monthly runoff. There is clearly considerable scatter in this relationship, consistent
with the scatter in the relationship between percentage change in 10-year return
period maximum daily and monthly runoff values. In a large number of cells, climate
change can lead to substantial increases in average annual damages using daily
frequency parameters, but large decreases using monthly parameters (and vice
versa).

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 42 October 2005


Figure 4.8: Effect of climate change (HadCM3, A2, Method 3) on grid-cell
average annual damage

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 43 October 2005


Figure 4.9: Percentage change in grid cell average annual damages, with different
damage functions and frequency distributions

The effect of the four different methods of creating scenarios using ClimGen on
estimated changes in average annual damage are shown in Figure 4.10. Methods 4 and
5 produce very similar changes, but there are more substantial differences between
Method 3 and Method 4/5. In a number of cells, Method 4/5 produces increases in
average annual damage where Method 3 produces decreases, because the effect of
changing year-to-year variability in precipitation is generally to increase year-to-year
variability in flood flows. Methods 4 and 5 also tend to give slightly larger percentage
changes. The relationship between Methods 2 and 3 is poor. Again, there are a large
number of cells where Method 2 results in a decrease in average annual damage, but
Method 3 produces an increase. Method 2 also tends to produce lower increases in
average annual damage.

The reasons for the very large percentage changes in average annual damage with
climate change, and the reasons for the large differences in some cases between
scenarios and parameter sets can be seen in Figure 4.11, which shows damage-
frequency relationships for the 10 sample grid cells under baseline and "Method 3",
assuming a linear damage function, a damage threshold of 10 years, and daily
parameters. The figure clearly shows very large changes in the frequency with which
damage begins, from the baseline value of 10 years. For example, the return period at
which damage begins in the SW USA cell reduces to less than once in five years, but
increases in the Spanish cell to around once in 20 years. Such substantial changes in
the threshold at which damage begins have very large effects on estimated average
annual damage.

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 44 October 2005


Figure 4.10: Percentage change in grid cell average annual damages, with different
methods used to create scenarios

Figure 4.12 shows the effect of climate change on average annual damages for the ten
sample grid cells, assuming a linear damage function. In each case, the four groups of
bars show Methods 2, 3, 4 and 5. For a given method of constructing a scenario,
percentage changes tend to be greater with a damage threshold at a return period of 20
years than with the 10-year return period threshold. Frequency analyses based on
daily and monthly data give similar directions of change in most cells, with the
notable exception of southern Spain (where using daily extremes suggests a reduction
in damages whilst monthly extremes suggest an increase or little change) and south
western USA (where daily extremes suggest an increase in damages with Methods 4
and 5, and monthly extremes suggest a decrease). The differential effects of the four
scenario construction methods are also apparent. In south east Brasil, England and
north east USA, for example, Methods 4 and 5 (with the addition of changes in year to
year variability) produce larger increases in damages than Methods 2 or 3, and in
Ghana and SE Australia they suggest little change in damage rather than large
decreases.

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 45 October 2005


Figure 4.11: Relationships between damage and probability for the ten sample grid
cells, under baseline and Method 3 scenarios

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 46 October 2005


Figure 4.12: Percentage change in average annual damage for the ten sample grid
cells, under different scenario methods, damage thresholds and
frequency distributions (linear damage function)

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 47 October 2005


4.3.4 Incorporating adaptation

There are several possible objectives behind adaptation to climate change (Adger et
al., 2005). One objective would be to prevent any additional impacts over those
already being incurred, and another could be to seek a new economically optimum
level of protection. Another objective, which is highly likely to be used where
management agencies adopt a risk-based approach 3 , is to seek to maintain the same
standard of service of protection. This approach is relatively straightforward to
incorporate into assessments of the effects of climate change on flood risk.

Figure 4.13 shows, for the ten sample grid cells, average annual damage with three
standards of protection – protection to the 25, 50 and 100-year flood level – assuming
a linear damage function and with daily frequency parameters. Three values of
average annual damage are shown for each standard of protection. The first assumes
no climate change, the second assumes "HadCM3 A2 Method 3" climate change, but
with protection maintained at the original 25, 50 and 100-year flood magnitudes. The
third value shows the average annual damage if defences were altered to provide
protection against the future 25, 50 and 100-year flood magnitudes. In four of the
cells, adaptation reduces damages considerably, but in each case the damages with
adaptation remain slightly above the damages with no climate change. In the
remaining cells, a reduction in flood frequencies results in a reduction in average
annual damage with climate change. In these cases, adaptation leads to a reduction in
the actual level of protection associated with a given standard of service, and
adaptation therefore results in increases in damages (and if such actions were to be
taken, would amount to maladaptation). Note that adaptation does not produce
exactly the same damages as the situation without climate change (although the
standards of protection are the same) because climate change changes the shape of the
relationship between flood magnitude and frequency.

Figure 4.14 shows the geographical distribution of the effects of adaptation, assuming
protection against the 50 and 100 year flood magnitudes. The top pair of panels shows
the effects of climate change in the absence of adaptation. The central pair shows the
effects of adaptation on the impacts of climate change. The green and blue colours
depict cells where changing the level of protection increases damages because climate
change lowers the magnitude of the T-year flood. The bottom pair of maps show
"impacts with adaptation" in comparison to the damages in the absence of climate
change: adaptation clearly reduces substantially the impacts of climate change.

3
in practice the term "risk management" refers to attempts to manage likelihoods, not risk

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 48 October 2005


Figure 4.13: Average annual damage with three standards of protection, assuming
no climate change, climate change but no adaptation, and climate
change with adaptation to maintain service standards

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 49 October 2005


Figure 4.14: Effect of adaptation on grid-cell average annual damage: linear damage
function, damage begins at 10-year return period event, HadCM3 A2
Method 3 climate change scenario

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 50 October 2005


4.3.5 Regional and global flood risk

The previous sections have focused on grid-cell average annual damage as in


indicator of "hydrological" flood risk within a cell. Actual flood risk, however, will
vary considerably between cells due to variations in assets and lives exposed to
flooding. There is currently no global data base on assets exposed to riverine flooding,
so grid-cell population is used here as a surrogate. The total flood risk over a region or
the entire globe is therefore estimated by summing the product of grid-cell average
annual damage and cell population across all cells.

Figure 4.15 shows the geographical distribution of flood risk across the world, using
1995 population, three damage functions and damage thresholds of 10 and 20 years.
The map essentially shows the distribution of population, scaled slightly differently
with the different damage functions.

The sensitivity of the effects of climate change on indicative global flood risk to
different assumptions is summarised in Figure 4.16. In each case, it is assumed that
protection exists to prevent damages in floods with a return period of less than 50
years (under the current climate).

The top left panel shows the percentage change (compared to the situation in 2085
with no climate change) under the four methods of creating climate change scenarios,
assuming A2 population, the damage function starting at the 10-year event, and
frequency distribution parameters estimated from daily maxima. There is a clear
difference between Method 2 and the other Methods, with little difference between
Methods 4 and 5. There is relatively little difference between the different shaped
damage functions, with the greatest percentage change with the squared function.

The top right panel shows the effect of different damage thresholds and the use of
daily and monthly maxima, assuming A2 population and a linear damage function.
With protection against floods with a return period of less than 50 years, there is little
difference between the use of a 10 or 20 year return period threshold for the start of
the damage function, but use of monthly rather than daily frequencies leads to a
greater climate change effect.

The bottom left panel shows, again assuming A2 population and a linear damage
function, the effect of calculating global risk at the 0.5x0.5, 1x1 or 2x2o resolution:
there is little apparent difference (the baseline figures are slightly different, but
percentage changes are similar). The bottom right panel shows the effect of different
population assumptions, assuming a linear damage function, the damage function
starting at 10 years (but with protection against floods with a return period of less than
50 years), and daily frequency parameters. The differences are relatively small.

The final panel shows the effect of adapting to climate change by altering defence
standards to protect against the future 50-year flood, rather than the current value.
Under this assumption, total flood risk reduces with climate change. Not only is risk
reduced where climate change increases risk (see the right hand bar), but risk is
reduced where climate change means that the future 50-year flood is smaller than the
current 50-year flood.

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 51 October 2005


Figure 4.15: Grid-cell flood risk, with 1995 population

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 52 October 2005


Figure 4.16: Effect of climate change on global flood risk

4.3.6 Implications

This section has examined the implications of spatial resolution, form of damage
model and scenario method on the estimated effects of climate change. The
differences between the four scenario generation methods are more marked with flood
risk than water resources stress, with Method 2 producing considerably different
results than Methods 3, 4 and 5. As with water resources, Methods 4 and 5 produce
very similar results, but there are greater differences with Method 3.

The effect of spatial resolution on global (and regional) flood risk is less apparent than
for water resources, and appears relatively minor. Using parameters describing daily
or monthly flood frequencies produces some differences. Given that daily frequency
parameters are less robust than monthly frequency parameters (Section 2), it is
therefore appropriate to use monthly frequency parameters.

The use of differently-shaped damage functions with different thresholds at which


damage begins produces different quantitative estimates of flood risk and its variation

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 53 October 2005


from cell to cell, but when changes are expressed in relative terms the differences
become much smaller.

Finally, although the focus has been on methodological issues, the calculations here
show that climate change may produce very substantial percentage changes in flood
risk, due largely to changes in the estimated frequency with which damage begins,
and that adaptation (through seeking to maintain defined standards of protection) can
reduce very significantly flood risk.

5. Climate impact response functions

5.1 Introduction and approach

Climate Impact Response Functions (CIRFs) are used in many integrated assessment
models to characterise the effect of a given change in climate variable – usually global
temperature – on the impact of climate change. These CIRFs may be empirically
based (from the results of impacts assessments conducted for different rates of climate
change), but are often simple mathematical expressions of the form

Dti (T ) = a i T bti

where Dt(T) is the "damage" at time t associated with temperature change T, Tt is the
temperature change by time t, and a and b are parameters. The subscript i represents
region, and the global "damage" is the sum across the regions. In effect, this is a
conditional climate impact response function, because for many impact areas
"damage" is related not only to changes in temperature but also to changes in
precipitation and other variables (including their pattern of change through the year
and from year to year).

Indicative empirical CIRFs were constructed for water resources stress and flood risk,
using essentially the same approach. Climate scenarios were constructed by rescaling
the HadCM3 A2 Method 3 climate change pattern to global temperature increases of
between 0.5 and 3.0oC, in 0.5oC increments. The resulting hydrological changes were
combined with population data for 2085 to produce CIRFs for water resources stress
and flood risk conditional on the patterns of change in precipitation associated with a
given global temperature change.

5.2 Water resources stress

Figure 5.1 shows CIRFs for water resources stress in 2085, under A1/B1, A2 and B2
populations. The left panel shows the numbers of people living in watersheds with
less than 1000m3/capita/year. There is little clear relationship with temperature: whilst
some watersheds move into the stressed category, others move out as temperature
rises and precipitation, and hence runoff, changes. The right panel shows the numbers
of people with an increase in water resources stress as temperature rises. This rises
with temperature as the numbers of watersheds with significant reductions in runoff

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 54 October 2005


increase: a similar CIRF shows the change in numbers of people with an apparent
decrease in water stress as temperature rises.

Figure 5.1: Conditional climate impact response functions for global numbers of
people affected by water stress: HadCM3 A2 climate pattern

Figure 5.2 shows the same as Figure 5.1, but assuming just the A2 population and
showing the three different spatial resolutions. Spatial resolution has a very large
effect on the absolute numbers of people living in water-stressed watersheds (left
panel), but a much lesser effect on the shape of the CIRF describing people with an
increase in water stress.

Figure 5.2: Conditional climate impact response functions for global numbers of
people affected by water stress: effect of different spatial resolutions

Figures 5.1 and 5.2 show global CIRFs, but these hide considerable regional
variability. Figure 5.3 shows CIRFs describing the relationship between water stress
and global temperature for 20 major world regions. Not only is there considerable
variability between the regions, but the shapes of the CIRFs are also different.

Climate impact response functions for impact areas highly dependent on precipitation,
such as water, will vary considerably depending on the climate model used to produce
spatial patterns of climate change. Figure 5.4 shows some global CIRFs constructed
using climate patterns rescaled from six climate models (Arnell, 2005): the
differences are clearly very large.

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 55 October 2005


Figure 5.3: Regional climate impact response functions representing change in
water resources stress, assuming A2 population

2085: A2
4000

3500

3000

2500

2000

1500

1000

500

0
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 5
Temperat ure change

Figure 5.4: Global climate impact response functions for water resources stress
created using different climate models (Arnell, 2005). The vertical
lines represent global temperature changes associated with specific
climate policies

5.3 Indicative global flood risk

Figure 5.5 shows CIRFs for indicative global flood risk in 2085, assuming in each
case that protection is provided against floods with a return period of 50 years under
the current climate (in other words, with no adaptation). The top left panel shows the
effect of different population assumptions, using a linear damage function: there is
little clear difference in percentage change in risk. Note that the CIRFs show a
decrease in global risk with small rises in temperature, and an increase thereafter.

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 56 October 2005


The top right panel shows the effect of using different damage functions, with A2
population. The linear and root damage functions produce very similar CIRFs, but the
squared function produces a lower curve.

The bottom left panel shows very little difference in CIRFs when a damage threshold
of 10 or 20 years is used, and a slight difference when frequency distributions are
estimated from daily or monthly maxima. The bottom right panel shows that the
spatial resolution at which runoff is calculated has virtually no effect on the CIRF.

Figure 5.5: Climate Impact Response Functions for global flood risk

Figure 5.6 shows the effect of adaptation – providing protection against the future,
rather than current, 50-year flood – on the variation in global flood risk with
temperature. Adaptation clearly has a major effect on the resulting CIRF, with little
difference between the linear and root damage functions.

Finally, Figure 5.7 shows regional CIRFs, for the same regions as shown in Figure
5.3. There is clearly a large variation between the curves. In some regions the CIRFs
show a reduction in regional flood risk for small increases in temperature, and an
increase as temperatures rise still further. Note that the global indicative flood risk
CIRF is not simply the average of the regional CIRFs, as the baseline indicative flood
risk varies between regions. Most of the regional CIRFs show a reduction in risk as
temperature rises, but the global CIRF shows a clear increase because the regions with
increasing CIRFs have a high absolute indicative flood risk.

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 57 October 2005


Figure 5.6: Climate Impact Response Function for global flood risk, with and
without adaptation

Figure 5.7: Regional Climate Impact Response Functions for flood risk

The flood risk CIRFs have a very different form to the water resources CIRFs shown
in the previous section. They tend to show a progressive, and accelerating, change as
temperature rises, and are smoother. This is largely because they are not based on
exceedance of thresholds.

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 58 October 2005


6. Conclusions

A key challenge for integrated assessment models (IAMs) is to represent accurately


the impacts of a given climate change. Simple IAMs use simple empirical functions
describing impacts for a given temperature change, whilst more complicated IAMs
use spatially-explicit impacts modules but are computationally far more demanding.
Empirical climate impact response functions can in principle be constructed from
geographically-explicit impact assessments, but in practice tend to be simple
mathematical formulations.

This project has examined the development of global-scale impact assessment


modules into integrated assessment models, and the associated issue of interfacing the
impacts modules with climate simulation modules. The project used impacts modules
describing impacts on water resources and flood risk, although the focus of the project
was methodological: no attempt has been made to interpret the impacts of climate
change on water resources and flood risk.

The three aims of the project were to develop an interface between climate and
impacts modules, specifically for the Tyndall CIAM, to enhance an existing
hydrological module to that it can integrate with the interface and simulate additional
dimensions of hydrological behaviour, and develop indicative impacts modules using
the simulated runoff. A fourth element of the project explored the development of
generalised climate impact response functions for water resources and flood risk.

The work on the climate-impacts interface involved the development and


enhancement of the ClimGen climate scenario generation software. This incorporates
a statistical downscaling procedure to provide scenarios at the fine resolution used by
impacts models, and includes four variant methods for creating scenarios. Two of
these (Methods 4 and 5) represent changes not only in mean precipitation, but also in
variability in precipitation from year to year, differing only in the way the time series
are scaled to match a defined temperature change. These two methods tend to produce
very similar climate scenarios, but both produce scenarios that are locally very
different from those which do not incorporate changes in year to year variability.

The hydrological model simulates time series of runoff on a grid across the land
surface of the world, and has been revised to output measures describing year to year
variability in low, average and high flows. The variability in low and average flows is
reasonably well simulated, but there are indications that the variability in high flows is
underestimated. The hydrological model uses a stochastic approach to break monthly
precipitation down into daily precipitation, and different repetitions produce slightly
different hydrological results (monthly precipitation totals are preserved, but the same
monthly total is distributed in different ways through the month). Investigations
showed that as few as five repetitions are necessary to produce robust estimates of
measures of average runoff, but 20 repetitions may be necessary to produce robust
estimates of measures of high flows. Simulating runoff at coarser resolutions reduced
simulation time and produces visually similar maps of hydrological behaviour, but as
resolution coarsens from 0.5x0.5o to 2x2o both the mean and variability in runoff
tends to decrease.

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 59 October 2005


The four different methods of producing climate scenarios result in different estimates
of the impact of climate change. Method 2, which applies absolute changes in
precipitation, produces very different changes to the other methods, which apply
percentage changes, in some dry parts of the world. There is little difference in
simulated average runoff between the other three methods, but the methods which
incorporate changes in year to year variability in precipitation tend to produce larger
percentage changes in high flows.

An existing water resources impact module was used, which calculates available
resources per person by major watershed. Simulating runoff at different spatial scales
produces different quantitative estimates of numbers of people exposed to water
resources stress. Method 2 produces different estimates of the impact of climate
change than the other (percentage change) methods, which result in very similar
changes. Including changes in year-to-year variability makes little difference to the
numerical impact of climate change.

A second module was developed to estimate global flood risk. This involves first the
estimation of grid-cell average annual damage, using a generalised damage function,
and second scaling grid-cell damage by grid-cell population and summing by region
or across the globe. Different damage functions produce quantitatively different
estimates of cell flood damages and, most importantly, different degrees of variation
between cells: the squared damage function results in much greater variability in
average annual damage between cells than the root damage function. The use of
parameters from maximum daily or monthly flows also produces different estimates
of damage. Climate change frequently results in very large percentage changes in cell
average annual damage, largely because changes in the frequency with which damage
begins can change considerably. The different methods of creating scenarios produce
different estimates of the effect of climate change, broadly in line with the results
from the water resources model. Including changes in year-to-year variability in
precipitation, however, has a rather greater effect.

The flood risk module also incorporates the effect of adaptation, represented by
adjustments to the physical level of protection to produce the same standard of service
(so that protection is provided against the future, rather than current, 50-year flood,
for example). Adaptation reduces impacts very considerably, but does not eliminate
them because climate change alters not only the magnitude of defined frequency
floods but also the precise shape of the relationship between magnitude and
frequency. Simulating runoff at different spatial scales produces slightly different
estimates of global flood risk and the sensitivity to climate change.

The final part of the report examines the development of indicative climate impact
response functions (CIRFs) describing the relationship between climate change
impact (in terms of water resources stress and flood risk) and global average
temperature. When expressed in relative terms, there is little difference between
spatial scale for either water resources or flood risk, and the flood CIRFs are relatively
insensitive to the assumed shape of the grid-cell damage function. The water
resources CIRFs are not easily described by simple mathematical functions: they tend
to show step changes, because they are based on resource availability passing defined
thresholds. The flood CIRFs have a simpler form, and show accelerating increases as
temperature rises.

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 60 October 2005


Acknowledgements

This work was funded by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, under
project T2-11 within Theme 1 "Integrating Frameworks". Dr David Wilson (ex-
University of Southampton) and Dr Tim Mitchell (ex-University of East Anglia)
contributed to the development of Mac-PDM and ClimGen respectively. Dr Mark
New (University of Oxford) provided the algorithm to convert cloud cover into
sunshine hours used in the enhanced Mac-PDM.

Interfacing climate and impacts modules 61 October 2005


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Interfacing climate and impacts modules 63 October 2005


The inter-disciplinary Tyndall Centre for Climate
Change Research undertakes integrated research into
the long-term consequences of climate change for
society and into the development of sustainable
responses that governments, business-leaders and Recent Tyndall Centre Technical Reports
decision-makers can evaluate and implement.
Achieving these objectives brings together UK climate Tyndall Centre Technical Reports are available online at
scientists, social scientists, engineers and economists http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/publications/tech_r
in a unique collaborative research effort. eports/tech_reports.shtml
The Tyndall Centre is named after the 19th century UK
scientist John Tyndall, who was the first to prove the ƒ Warren R., de la Nava Santos S., Ford R., Riley
Earth’s natural greenhouse effect and suggested that G., Bane M., Barton C., and Freeman L.,
slight changes in atmospheric composition could bring (2007) SoftIAM: Integrated assessment
about climate variations. In addition, he was modelling using distributed software
committed to improving the quality of science components: Tyndall Centre Technical Report
education and knowledge. No. 51.
The Tyndall Centre is a partnership of the following
institutions: ƒ Challenor, P., (2007) Estimating uncertainty
in future assessments of climate change:
University of East Anglia Tyndall Centre Technical Report No. 50.
University of Manchester
University of Southampton
University of Sussex ƒ O'Riordan T., Watkinson A., Milligan J, (2006)
University of Oxford Living with a changing coastline:
University of Newcastle Exploring new forms of governance for
sustainable coastal futures:
The Centre is core funded by the following Tyndall Centre Technical Report No. 49.
organisations:

Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) ƒ Anderson K., Bows A., Mander S, Shackley S.,
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Agnolucci P., Ekins P., (2006) Decarbonising
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Modern Societies:Integrated Scenarios
Council (EPSRC) Process and Workshops, Tyndall Centre
Technical Report 48.
For more information, visit the Tyndall Centre Web site
(www.tyndall.ac.uk) or contact: ƒ Gough C., Shackley S. (2005) An integrated
Assesment of Carbon Dioxide Capture and
Communications Manager Storage in the UK. Tyndall Centre Technical
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research Report 47.
University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
Phone: +44 (0) 1603 59 3906; Fax: +44 (0)
1603 59 3901 ƒ Nicholls R., Hanson S., Balson P., Brown I.,
Email: tyndall@uea.ac.uk French J., Spencer T., (2005) Capturing
Geomorphological Change in the Coastal
Simulator, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 46
ƒ Weatherhead K, Knox J, Ramsden S, Gibbons ƒ Lenton, T. M., Loutre, M. F, Williamson, M. S.,
J, Arnell N. W., Odoni, N, Hiscock K, Sandhu C, Warren, R., Goodess, C., Swann, M., Cameron,
Saich A., Conway D, Warwick C, Bharwani S, D. R., Hankin, R., Marsh, R. and Shepherd, J.
(2006) Sustainable water resources: A G., (2006) Climate change on the millennial
framework for assessing adaptation timescale, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 41
options in the rural sector, Tyndall Centre ƒ Bows, A., Anderson, K. and Upham, P. (2006)
Technical Report 45 Contraction & Convergence: UK carbon
emissions and the implications for UK air
traffic, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 40
ƒ Weatherhead K, Knox J, Ramsden S, Gibbons
J, Arnell N. W., Odoni, N, Hiscock K, Sandhu C, ƒ Starkey R., Anderson K., (2005) Domestic
Tradeable Quotas: A policy instrument for
Saich A., Conway D, Warwick C, Bharwani S,
reducing greenhouse gas emissions from
(2006) Sustainable water resources: A
energy use:, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 39
framework for assessing adaptation
options in the rural sector, Tyndall Centre ƒ Pearson, S., Rees, J., Poulton, C., Dickson, M.,
Technical Report 44 Walkden, M., Hall, J., Nicholls, R., Mokrech, M.,
Koukoulas, S. and Spencer, T. (2005) Towards an
integrated coastal sediment dynamics and
ƒ Lowe, T. (2006) Vicarious experience vs. shoreline response simulator, Tyndall Centre
scientific information in climate change Technical Report 38
risk perception and behaviour: a case ƒ Sorrell, S. (2005) The contribution of energy
study of undergraduate students in service contracting to a low carbon economy,
Norwich, UK, Tyndall Centre Technical Report Tyndall Centre Technical Report 37
43 ƒ Tratalos, J. A., Gill, J. A., Jones, A., Showler, D.,
ƒ Atkinson, P, (2006) Towards an integrated Bateman, A., Watkinson, A., Sugden, R., and
coastal simulator of the impact of sea level rise Sutherland, W. (2005) Interactions between
in East Anglia: Part B3- Coastal simulator and tourism, breeding birds and climate change
biodiversity - Modelling the change in across a regional scale, Tyndall Centre Technical
wintering Twite Carduelis flavirostris Report 36
populations in relation to changing saltmarsh ƒ Thomas, D., Osbahr, H., Twyman, C., Adger, W. N.
area, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 42B3 and Hewitson, B., (2005) ADAPTIVE: Adaptations
ƒ Gill, J, Watkinson, A. and Sutherland, W., to climate change amongst natural resource-
(2006) Towards an integrated coastal simulator dependant societies in the developing world:
of the impact of sea level rise in East Anglia: across the Southern African climate gradient,
Part B2- Coastal simulator and biodiversity - Tyndall Centre Technical Report 35
models of biodiversity responses to ƒ Arnell, N. W., Tompkins, E. L., Adger, W. N. and
environmental change Tyndall Centre Technical Delany, K. (2005) Vulnerability to abrupt climate
Report 42B2 change in Europe, Tyndall Centre Technical Report
34
ƒ Ridley, J., Gill, J, Watkinson, A. and
Sutherland, W., (2006) Towards an integrated ƒ Shackley, S. and Anderson, K. et al. (2005)
coastal simulator of the impact of sea level rise Decarbonising the UK: Energy for a climate
in East Anglia: Part B1- Coastal simulator and conscious future, Tyndall Technical Report 33
biodiversity - Design and structure of the
ƒ Halliday, J., Ruddell, A., Powell, J. and Peters, M.
coastal simulator Tyndall Centre Technical Report
(2005) Fuel cells: Providing heat and power in
42B1
the urban environment, Tyndall Centre Technical
ƒ Stansby, P., Launder B., Laurence, D., Kuang, Report 32
C., and Zhou, J., (2006) Towards an integrated ƒ Haxeltine, A., Turnpenny, J., O’Riordan, T., and
coastal simulator of the impact of sea level rise Warren, R (2005) The creation of a pilot phase
in East Anglia: Part A- Coastal wave climate Interactive Integrated Assessment Process for
prediction and sandbanks for coastal managing climate futures, Tyndall Centre
protection Tyndall Centre Technical Report 42A Technical Report 31
ƒ Nedic, D. P., Shakoor, A. A., Strbac, G., Black, M., ƒ Shackley, S., Bray, D. and Bleda, M., (2005)
Watson, J., and Mitchell, C. (2005) Security Developing discourse coalitions to incorporate
assessment of futures electricity scenarios, stakeholder perceptions and responses within
Tyndall Centre Technical Report 30 the Tyndall Integrated Assessment, Tyndall
Centre Technical Report 19
ƒ Shepherd, J., Challenor, P., Marsh, B., Williamson,
M., Yool, W., Lenton, T., Huntingford, C., Ridgwell, A ƒ Dutton, A. G., Bristow, A. L., Page, M. W., Kelly, C.
and Raper, S. (2005) Planning and Prototyping a E., Watson, J. and Tetteh, A. (2005) The
Climate Module for the Tyndall Integrated Hydrogen energy economy: its long term role
Assessment Model, Tyndall Centre Technical in greenhouse gas reduction, Tyndall Centre
Report 29 Technical Report 18
ƒ Lorenzoni, I., Lowe, T. and Pidgeon, N. (2005) A ƒ Few, R. (2005) Health and flood risk: A strategic
strategic assessment of scientific and assessment of adaptation processes and
behavioural perspectives on ‘dangerous’ policies, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 17
climate change, Tyndall Centre Technical Report
ƒ Brown, K., Boyd, E., Corbera-Elizalde, E., Adger, W.
28
N. and Shackley, S (2004) How do CDM projects
ƒ Boardman, B., Killip, G., Darby S. and Sinden, G, contribute to sustainable development? Tyndall
(2005) Lower Carbon Futures: the 40% House Centre Technical Report 16
Project, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 27
ƒ Levermore, G, Chow, D., Jones, P. and Lister, D.
ƒ Dearing, J.A., Plater, A.J., Richmond, N., Prandle, (2004) Accuracy of modelled extremes of
D. and Wolf , J. (2005) Towards a high resolution temperature and climate change and its
cellular model for coastal simulation implications for the built environment in the
(CEMCOS), Tyndall Centre Technical Report 26 UK, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 14
ƒ Timms, P., Kelly, C., and Hodgson, F., (2005) ƒ Jenkins, N., Strbac G. and Watson J. (2004)
World transport scenarios project, Tyndall Connecting new and renewable energy sources
Centre Technical Report 25 to the UK electricity system, Tyndall Centre
Technical Report 13
ƒ Brown, K., Few, R., Tompkins, E. L., Tsimplis, M.
and Sortti, (2005) Responding to climate ƒ Palutikof, J. and Hanson, C. (2004) Integrated
change: inclusive and integrated coastal assessment of the potential for change in
analysis, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 24 storm activity over Europe: Implications for
insurance and forestry, Tyndall Centre Technical
ƒ Anderson, D., Barker, T., Ekins, P., Green, K.,
Report 12
Köhler, J., Warren, R., Agnolucci, P., Dewick, P.,
Foxon, T., Pan, H. and Winne, S. (2005) ETech+: ƒ Berkhout, F., Hertin, J., and Arnell, N. (2004)
Technology policy and technical change, a Business and Climate Change: Measuring and
dynamic global and UK approach, Tyndall Centre Enhancing Adaptive Capacity, Tyndall Centre
Technical Report 23 Technical Report 11
ƒ Abu-Sharkh, S., Li, R., Markvart, T., Ross, N., ƒ Tsimplis, S. et al (2004) Towards a vulnerability
Wilson, P., Yao, R., Steemers, K., Kohler, J. and assessment for the UK coastline, Tyndall Centre
Arnold, R. (2005) Microgrids: distributed on-site Technical Report 10
generation, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 22
ƒ Gill, J., Watkinson, A. and Côté, I (2004). Linking
ƒ Shepherd, D., Jickells, T., Andrews, J., Cave, R., sea level rise, coastal biodiversity and
Ledoux, L, Turner, R., Watkinson, A., Aldridge, J. economic activity in Caribbean island states:
Malcolm, S, Parker, R., Young, E., Nedwell, D. towards the development of a coastal island
(2005) Integrated modelling of an estuarine simulator, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 9
environment: an assessment of managed
ƒ Skinner, I., Fergusson, M., Kröger, K., Kelly, C. and
realignment options, Tyndall Centre Technical
Bristow, A. (2004) Critical Issues in
Report 21
Decarbonising Transport, Tyndall Centre
ƒ Dlugolecki, A. and Mansley, M. (2005) Asset Technical Report 8
management and climate change, Tyndall Centre
ƒ Adger W. N., Brooks, N., Kelly, M., Bentham, S. and
Technical Report 20
Eriksen, S. (2004) New indicators of
vulnerability and adaptive capacity, Tyndall
Centre Technical Report 7
ƒ Macmillan, S. and Köhler, J.H., (2004) ƒ Köhler, J.H. (2002). Modelling technological
Modelling energy use in the global building change, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 3
stock: a pilot survey to identify available data,
ƒ Gough, C., Shackley, S., Cannell, M.G.R. (2002).
Tyndall Centre Technical Report 6
Evaluating the options for carbon
ƒ Steemers, K. (2003) Establishing research sequestration, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 2
directions in sustainable building design,
ƒ Warren, R. (2002). A blueprint for integrated
Tyndall Centre Technical Report 5
assessment of climate change, Tyndall
ƒ Goodess, C.M. Osborn, T. J. and Hulme, M. (2003) CentreTechnical Report 1
The identification and evaluation of suitable
scenario development methods for the
estimation of future probabilities of extreme
weather events, Tyndall Centre Technical Report 4