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Keywords:

  • hydrological modelling;
  • climate change;
  • river flows;
  • environmental flow requirements;
  • model coupling

Abstract

The fourth assessment report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests studies that increase the spatial resolution to solve the scale mismatch between large-scale climatic models and the catchment scale while addressing climate change impacts on aquatic ecosystems. Impacts occur mostly at the local scale, though potential changes in the hydrological cycle and eco-hydrological processes are more difficult to model and analyse at this level. The difficulty is even greater for studies on lowland river systems, which require the modelling of hydrological processes in greater detail. In this study, the regional impacts of climate change on river flow and environmental flow requirement, which is a negotiated trade-off between water uses, are analysed for a lowland catchment in Denmark through MIKE SHE/MIKE 11 coupling. The coupled model possesses an important capacity for simulating stream flows and groundwater head levels in a dynamic system. Although the simulation results from different global circulation models (GCMs) indicate different responses in flows to the climate change, there are obvious deviations of the river flows and environmental flow potentials computed for all the scenario cases from the averages of the base period with current conditions. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.