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This content will become publicly available on November 15, 2018

Title: Effects of climate change on streamflow extremes and implications for reservoir inflow in the United States

The magnitude and frequency of hydrometeorological extremes are expected to increase in the conterminous United States (CONUS) over the rest of this century, and their increase will significantly impact water resource management. While previous efforts focused on the effects of reservoirs on downstream discharge, the effects of climate change on reservoir inflows in upstream areas are not well understood. We evaluated the large-scale climate change effects on extreme hydrological events and their implications for reservoir inflows in 178 headwater basins across CONUS using the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) hydrologic model. The VIC model was forced with a 10-member ensemble of global circulation models under the Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 that were dynamically downscaled using a regional climate model (RegCM4) and bias-corrected to 1/24° grid cell resolution. The results projected an increase in the likelihood of flood risk by 44% for a majority of subbasins upstream of flood control reservoirs in the central United States and increased drought risk by 11% for subbasins upstream of hydropower reservoirs across the western United States. Increased risk of both floods and droughts can potentially make reservoirs across CONUS more vulnerable to future climate conditions. In conclusion, this study estimates reservoir inflow changes over themore » next several decades, which can be used to optimize water supply management downstream.« less
 [1] ; ORCiD logo [2] ; ORCiD logo [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [4]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Forschungszentrum Julich GmbH, Julich (Germany)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  3. Texas A & M Univ., College Station, TX (United States)
  4. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Hydrology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 556; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0022-1694
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; VIC; RegCM4; Streamflow extremes; Reservoirs
OSTI Identifier: