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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 16, issue 2
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 305–318, 2012
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-16-305-2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 305–318, 2012
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-16-305-2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 02 Feb 2012

Research article | 02 Feb 2012

Effects of climate model radiation, humidity and wind estimates on hydrological simulations

I. Haddeland1,2, J. Heinke3, F. Voß4, S. Eisner4, C. Chen5, S. Hagemann5, and F. Ludwig2 I. Haddeland et al.
  • 1Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate, Oslo, Norway
  • 2Wageningen University and Research Centre, Wageningen, The Netherlands
  • 3Potsdam Institute for Climate Research, Potsdam, Germany
  • 4University of Kassel, Kassel, Germany
  • 5Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany

Abstract. Due to biases in the output of climate models, a bias correction is often needed to make the output suitable for use in hydrological simulations. In most cases only the temperature and precipitation values are bias corrected. However, often there are also biases in other variables such as radiation, humidity and wind speed. In this study we tested to what extent it is also needed to bias correct these variables. Responses to radiation, humidity and wind estimates from two climate models for four large-scale hydrological models are analysed. For the period 1971–2000 these hydrological simulations are compared to simulations using meteorological data based on observations and reanalysis; i.e. the baseline simulation. In both forcing datasets originating from climate models precipitation and temperature are bias corrected to the baseline forcing dataset. Hence, it is only effects of radiation, humidity and wind estimates that are tested here. The direct use of climate model outputs result in substantial different evapotranspiration and runoff estimates, when compared to the baseline simulations. A simple bias correction method is implemented and tested by rerunning the hydrological models using bias corrected radiation, humidity and wind values. The results indicate that bias correction can successfully be used to match the baseline simulations. Finally, historical (1971–2000) and future (2071–2100) model simulations resulting from using bias corrected forcings are compared to the results using non-bias corrected forcings. The relative changes in simulated evapotranspiration and runoff are relatively similar for the bias corrected and non bias corrected hydrological projections, although the absolute evapotranspiration and runoff numbers are often very different. The simulated relative and absolute differences when using bias corrected and non bias corrected climate model radiation, humidity and wind values are, however, smaller than literature reported differences resulting from using bias corrected and non bias corrected climate model precipitation and temperature values.

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