Quantifying Sources of Error in Estimating Water Availability Using Hydrologic Modeling Under Retrospective Climate Change

Patricia Kernan, Tushar Sinha, Department of Environmental Engineering, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, 700 University Blvd, Kingsville, TX 78363

        As water scarcity and stress fluctuate due to changes in hydroclimate, water supply planning becomes increasingly important. Hydrologic models, which are capable of forecasting future water availability, can be used to aid in water supply planning but are currently not accurate enough to be a reliable tool for resource management. This research project focuses on quantifying the errors in estimating streamflow resulting from a hydrologic model: Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC), climate change projections from General Circulation Models and their temporal downscaling. The VIC Model was calibrated to match observed streamflow for the Nueces River Basin, Texas, and run to simulate streamflow during 1981 to 2005 under seven historical GCM climate projections. The simulated streamflow from the VIC Model showed that General Circulation Model projections yielded the highest amount of errors when compared to errors due to the VIC Model alone as well as errors due to temporal downscaling. Comparison of monthly streamflow indicated that the temporal disaggregation errors were relatively higher than the errors due to the VIC model alone during high precipitation months (September, October, and June). By quantifying and identifying major contributors of error associated with the VIC Model and its pairings, improvements can be made to minimize these errors so that hydrologic models could be a more useful tool for water supply planning in the future.  

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Patricia Kernan

Institution: Texas Tech University

Type: Poster

Subject: Environmental Science & Sustainability

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 6
Date/Time: Tue 2:00pm-3:00pm
Session Number: 4674