David E. Rupp


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Changing River Network Synchrony Modulates Projected Increases in High Flows
David E. Rupp, O. Chegwidden, Bart Nijssen, Martyn P. Clark
Water Resources Research, Volume 57, Issue 4

Projections of change in high-flow extremes with global warming vary widely among, and within, large midlatitude river basins. The spatial variability of these changes is attributable to multiple causes. One possible and little-studied cause of changes in high-flow extremes is a change in the synchrony of mainstem and tributary streamflow during high-flow extremes at the mainstem-tributary confluence. We examined reconstructed and simulated naturalized daily streamflow at confluences on the Columbia River in western North America, quantifying changes in synchrony in future streamflow projections and estimating the impact of these changes on high-flow extremes. In the Columbia River basin, projected flow regimes across colder tributaries initially diverge with warming as they respond to climate change at different rates, leading to a general decrease in synchrony, and lower high-flow extremes, relative to a scenario with no changes in synchrony. Where future warming is sufficiently large to cause most subbasins upstream from a confluence to transition toward a rain-dominated, warm regime, the decreasing trend in synchrony reverses itself. At one confluence with a major tributary (the Willamette River), where the mainstem and tributary flow regimes are initially very different, warming increases synchrony and, therefore, high-flow magnitudes. These results may be generalizable to the class of large rivers with large contributions to flood risk from the snow (i.e., cold) regime, but that also receive considerable discharge from tributaries that drain warmer basins.


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How Do Modeling Decisions Affect the Spread Among Hydrologic Climate Change Projections? Exploring a Large Ensemble of Simulations Across a Diversity of Hydroclimates
O. Chegwidden, Bart Nijssen, David E. Rupp, Jeffrey R. Arnold, Martyn P. Clark, Joseph Hamman, Shih‐Chieh Kao, Yixin Mao, Naoki Mizukami, Philip W. Mote, Ming Pan, Erik Pytlak, Mu Xiao
Earth's Future, Volume 7, Issue 6

Methodological choices can have strong effects on projections of climate change impacts on hydrology. In this study, we investigate the ways in which four different steps in the modeling chain influence the spread in projected changes of different aspects of hydrology. To form the basis of these analyses, we constructed an ensemble of 160 simulations from permutations of two Representative Concentration Pathways, 10 global climate models, two downscaling methods, and four hydrologic model implementations. The study is situated in the Pacific Northwest of North America, which has relevance to a diverse, multinational cast of stakeholders. We analyze the effects of each modeling decision on changes in gridded hydrologic variables of snow water equivalent and runoff, as well as streamflow at point locations. Results show that the choice of representative concentration pathway or global climate model is the driving contributor to the spread in annual streamflow volume and timing. On the other hand, hydrologic model implementation explains most of the spread in changes in low flows. Finally, by grouping the results by climate region the results have the potential to be generalized beyond the Pacific Northwest. Future hydrologic impact assessments can use these results to better tailor their modeling efforts.