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Impacts of climate change on flood volumes over North American catchments


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Ionno, Alexandre, Arsenault, Richard, Troin, Magali, Martel, Jean-Luc and Brissette, François. 2024. « Impacts of climate change on flood volumes over North American catchments ». Journal of Hydrology, vol. 630.

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Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of extreme events, such as droughts and floods. Assessing the impacts of climate change on flood volumes is crucial to provide better management of flooding disasters given the devastating consequences they can cause. Using flood volume instead of flood peak is critical because the latter focuses on the highest possible discharge observed during a flood event, while flood volume also considers flow duration, which is an important factor in terms of the hazard caused to the surrounding environment. This study aims to evaluate the overall impact of climate change on floods caused by long-duration flows exceeding synthetic flooding thresholds. These flows are used to compute flood storage with various flow thresholds increasing from the 50th to 95th percentile of annual maximum observed discharge over a large sample of 1403 North American catchments. This study also aims to evaluate the contribution of each uncertainty source of the ensemble approach (climate models, bias-correction methods, and hydrological models) on future flood volumes. The results show that flood volumes are expected to decrease in western mountainous areas, the Great Lakes region, and the Maritimes, while increases are expected over most of eastern North America. The study finds that climate models contribute the most to the variance of flood volume uncertainty, followed by hydrological models. Overall, this study provides projected flood volume changes for North American catchments from a comprehensive ensemble that includes eleven climate models driven by two RCP scenarios and four hydrological models of varying complexity. This leads to a large-sample assessment of future flood volumes that could be useful to policymakers for making better-informed decisions in flood risk management.

Item Type: Peer reviewed article published in a journal
Arsenault, Richard
Martel, Jean-Luc
Brissette, François
Affiliation: Génie de la construction, Génie de la construction, Génie de la construction
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2024 19:04
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2024 16:01

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