Climate model based consensus on the hydrologic impacts of climate change to the Rio Lempa basin of Central America E. P. Maurer1, J. C. Adam2, and A. W. Wood3 1Civil Engineering Department, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA, USA 2Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Washington State University, Pullman WA, USA 33Tier Group, Seattle, WA, USA
Abstract. Temperature and precipitation from 16 climate models each using two
emissions scenarios (lower B1 and mid-high A2) were used to characterize the
range of potential climate changes for the Rio Lempa basin of Central
America during the middle (2040–2069) and end (2070–2099) of the 21st
century. A land surface model was applied to investigate the hydrologic
impacts of these changes, focusing on inflow to two major hydropower
reservoirs. By 2070–2099 the median warming relative to 1961–1990 was 1.9°C and 3.4°C
under B1 and A2 emissions, respectively. For the same
periods, the models project median precipitation decreases of 5.0% (B1)
and 10.4% (A2). Median changes by 2070–2099 in reservoir inflow were
13% (B1) and 24% (A2), with largest flow reductions during the rising
limb of the seasonal hydrograph, from June through September. Frequency of
low flow years increases, implying decreases in firm hydropower capacity of
33% to 53% by 2070–2099.
Citation: Maurer, E. P., Adam, J. C., and Wood, A. W.: Climate model based consensus on the hydrologic impacts of climate change to the Rio Lempa basin of Central America, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 13, 183-194, doi:10.5194/hess-13-183-2009, 2009.