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Assessment of 21st century drought conditions at Shasta Dam based on dynamically projected water supply conditions by a regional climate model coupled with a physically-based hydrology model

Trinh, T., Ishida, K., Kavvas, M.L., Ercan, A., Carr, K.
The Science of the total environment 2017 v.586 pp. 197-205
climate, climate change, climate models, disasters, drought, hydrologic models, population growth, probability analysis, water shortages, watersheds
Along with socioeconomic developments, and population increase, natural disasters around the world have recently increased the awareness of harmful impacts they cause. Among natural disasters, drought is of great interest to scientists due to the extraordinary diversity of their severity and duration. Motivated by the development of a potential approach to investigate future possible droughts in a probabilistic framework based on climate change projections, a methodology to consider thirteen future climate projections based on four emission scenarios to characterize droughts is presented. The proposed approach uses a regional climate model coupled with a physically-based hydrology model (Watershed Environmental Hydrology Hydro-Climate Model; WEHY-HCM) to generate thirteen equally likely future water supply projections. The water supply projections were compared to the current water demand for the detection of drought events and estimation of drought properties. The procedure was applied to Shasta Dam watershed to analyze drought conditions at the watershed outlet, Shasta Dam. The results suggest an increasing water scarcity at Shasta Dam with more severe and longer future drought events in some future scenarios. An important advantage of the proposed approach to the probabilistic analysis of future droughts is that it provides the drought properties of the 100-year and 200-year return periods without resorting to any extrapolation of the frequency curve.