Forcing Function and Climate Change

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by Bijaya P. Shrestha, (M.ASCE),
Lucien Duckstein, (M.ASCE),
Eugene Z. Stakhiv, (M.ASCE),

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: North American Water and Environment Congress & Destructive Water:

Abstract: A system framework for investigating the effect of climate change in the upper Rio-Grande river basin, New Mexico, is developed. The forcing function or input into a climate change model is investigated by means of downscaling large scale daily atmospheric circulation patterns (CP) to small scale regional hydrology. Results of future climate change scenarios exemplified by a 2×CO2 scenario over the river basin point to increase of both daily rainfall probability and temperatures (maximum and minimum) especially in the spring and fall seasons. The methodology for downscalling is suitable for semi-arid countries where data may be scarce. The water resources implications of these results are earlier snowmelt, larger floods, greater water demand and thus higher probability of shortage in summer. This compounds the consequence of increasing population. The response to this changing water resources picture may affect three levels of decision making described in the paper. The issue of flexibility of existing rules to accommodate climate change is examined by a simulation methodology, leading to guidelines for decision-makers in the region.

Subject Headings: Climate change | Water resources | Water shortage | Probability | Water demand | Basins | Decision making | Structural systems | North America | United States | New Mexico

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