skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: On an improved sub-regional water resources management representation for integration into earth system models

Abstract

Human influence on the hydrologic cycle includes regulation and storage, consumptive use and overall redistribution of water resources in space and time. Representing these processes is essential for applications of earth system models in hydrologic and climate predictions, as well as impact studies at regional to global scales. Emerging large-scale research reservoir models use generic operating rules that are flexible for coupling with earth system models. Those generic operating rules have been successful in reproducing the overall regulated flow at large basin scales. This study investigates the uncertainties of the reservoir models from different implementations of the generic operating rules using the complex multi-objective Columbia River Regulation System in northwestern United States as an example to understand their effects on not only regulated flow but also reservoir storage and fraction of the demand that is met. Numerical experiments are designed to test new generic operating rules that combine storage and releases targets for multi-purpose reservoirs and to compare the use of reservoir usage priorities, withdrawals vs. consumptive demand, as well as natural vs. regulated mean flow for calibrating operating rules. Overall the best performing implementation is the use of the combined priorities (flood control storage targets and irrigation release targets)more » operating rules calibrated with mean annual natural flow and mean monthly withdrawals. The challenge of not accounting for groundwater withdrawals, or on the contrary, assuming that all remaining demand is met through groundwater extractions, is discussed.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1095419
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-93513
35201; KP1703020
DOE Contract Number:
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 17(9):3605-3622
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
water resources; reservoir; model; Columbia; earth system model; Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory

Citation Formats

Voisin, Nathalie, Li, Hongyi, Ward, Duane L., Huang, Maoyi, Wigmosta, Mark S., and Leung, Lai-Yung R.. On an improved sub-regional water resources management representation for integration into earth system models. United States: N. p., 2013. Web. doi:10.5194/hess-17-3605-2013.
Voisin, Nathalie, Li, Hongyi, Ward, Duane L., Huang, Maoyi, Wigmosta, Mark S., & Leung, Lai-Yung R.. On an improved sub-regional water resources management representation for integration into earth system models. United States. doi:10.5194/hess-17-3605-2013.
Voisin, Nathalie, Li, Hongyi, Ward, Duane L., Huang, Maoyi, Wigmosta, Mark S., and Leung, Lai-Yung R.. 2013. "On an improved sub-regional water resources management representation for integration into earth system models". United States. doi:10.5194/hess-17-3605-2013.
@article{osti_1095419,
title = {On an improved sub-regional water resources management representation for integration into earth system models},
author = {Voisin, Nathalie and Li, Hongyi and Ward, Duane L. and Huang, Maoyi and Wigmosta, Mark S. and Leung, Lai-Yung R.},
abstractNote = {Human influence on the hydrologic cycle includes regulation and storage, consumptive use and overall redistribution of water resources in space and time. Representing these processes is essential for applications of earth system models in hydrologic and climate predictions, as well as impact studies at regional to global scales. Emerging large-scale research reservoir models use generic operating rules that are flexible for coupling with earth system models. Those generic operating rules have been successful in reproducing the overall regulated flow at large basin scales. This study investigates the uncertainties of the reservoir models from different implementations of the generic operating rules using the complex multi-objective Columbia River Regulation System in northwestern United States as an example to understand their effects on not only regulated flow but also reservoir storage and fraction of the demand that is met. Numerical experiments are designed to test new generic operating rules that combine storage and releases targets for multi-purpose reservoirs and to compare the use of reservoir usage priorities, withdrawals vs. consumptive demand, as well as natural vs. regulated mean flow for calibrating operating rules. Overall the best performing implementation is the use of the combined priorities (flood control storage targets and irrigation release targets) operating rules calibrated with mean annual natural flow and mean monthly withdrawals. The challenge of not accounting for groundwater withdrawals, or on the contrary, assuming that all remaining demand is met through groundwater extractions, is discussed.},
doi = {10.5194/hess-17-3605-2013},
journal = {Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 17(9):3605-3622},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2013,
month = 9
}
  • Many of the scientific and societal challenges in understanding and preparing for global environmental change rest upon our ability to understand and predict the water cycle change at large river basin, continent, and global scales. However, current large-scale models, such as the land components of Earth System Models (ESMs), do not yet represent the terrestrial water cycle in a fully integrated manner or resolve the finer-scale processes that can dominate large-scale water budgets. This paper reviews the current representation of hydrologic processes in ESMs and identifies the key opportunities for improvement. This review suggests that (1) the development of ESMsmore » has not kept pace with modeling advances in hydrology, both through neglecting key processes (e.g., groundwater) and neglecting key aspects of spatial variability and hydrologic connectivity; and (2) many modeling advances in hydrology can readily be incorporated into ESMs and substantially improve predictions of the water cycle. Accelerating modeling advances in ESMs requires comprehensive hydrologic benchmarking activities, in order to systematically evaluate competing modeling alternatives, understand model weaknesses, and prioritize model development needs. This demands stronger collaboration, both through greater engagement of hydrologists in ESM development and through more detailed evaluation of ESM processes in research watersheds. Advances in the representation of hydrologic process in ESMs can substantially improve energy, carbon and nutrient cycle prediction capabilities through the fundamental role the water cycle plays in regulating these cycles.« less
  • Accurate representation of photosynthesis in terrestrial biosphere models (TBMs) is essential for robust projections of global change. However, current representations vary markedly between TBMs, contributing uncertainty projections of global carbon fluxes.
  • Soil properties such as soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks and active-layer thickness are used in earth system models (F.SMs) to predict anthropogenic and climatic impacts on soil carbon dynamics, future changes in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, and associated climate changes in the permafrost regions. Accurate representation of spatial and vertical distribution of these soil properties in ESMs is a prerequisite for redudng existing uncertainty in predicting carbon-climate feedbacks. We compared the spatial representation of SOC stocks and active-layer thicknesses predicted by the coupled Modellntercomparison Project Phase 5 { CMIP5) ESMs with those predicted from geospatial predictions, based on observation datamore » for the state of Alaska, USA. For the geospatial modeling. we used soil profile observations {585 for SOC stocks and 153 for active-layer thickness) and environmental variables (climate, topography, land cover, and surficial geology types) and generated fine-resolution (50-m spatial resolution) predictions of SOC stocks (to 1-m depth) and active-layer thickness across Alaska. We found large inter-quartile range (2.5-5.5 m) in predicted active-layer thickness of CMIP5 modeled results and small inter-quartile range (11.5-22 kg m-2) in predicted SOC stocks. The spatial coefficient of variability of active-layer thickness and SOC stocks were lower in CMIP5 predictions compared to our geospatial estimates when gridded at similar spatial resolutions (24.7 compared to 30% and 29 compared to 38%, respectively). However, prediction errors. when calculated for independent validation sites, were several times larger in ESM predictions compared to geospatial predictions. Primaly factors leading to observed differences were ( 1) lack of spatial heterogeneity in ESM predictions, (2) differences in assumptions concerning environmental controls, and (3) the absence of pedogenic processes in ESM model structures. Our results suggest that efforts to incorporate these factors in F.SMs should reduce current uncertainties associated with ESM predictions of carbon-climate feedbacks.« less