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A methodological framework to assess PMP and PMF in snow-dominated watersheds under changing climate conditions – A case study of three watersheds in Québec (Canada)

Rouhani, Hassan, Leconte, Robert
Journal of hydrology 2018 v.561 pp. 796-809
autumn, case studies, climate change, climate models, climatic factors, hydrologic models, spring, watersheds, Quebec
Climate change will affect precipitation and flood regimes. It is anticipated that the Probable Maximum Precipitation (PMP) and Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) will be modified in a changing climate. This paper aims to quantify and analyze climate change influences on PMP and PMF in three watersheds with different climatic conditions across the province of Québec, Canada. Output data from the Canadian Regional Climate Model (CRCM) was used to estimate PMP and Probable Maximum Snow Accumulation (PMSA) in future climate projections, which was then used to force the SWAT hydrological model to estimate PMF. PMP and PMF values were estimated for two time horizons each spanning 30 years: 1961–1990 (recent past) and 2041–2070 (future). PMP and PMF were separately analyzed for two seasons: summer-fall and spring. Results show that PMF in the watershed located in southern Québec would remain unchanged in the future horizon, but the trend for the watersheds located in the northeastern and northern areas of the province is an increase of up to 11%.