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climate change; statistical downscaling; runoff; uncertainty; Canada


The impact of climate change on water availability in two river basins located in central Canada is investigated. Several statistical downscaling methods are used to generate temperature and precipitation scenarios from the third-generation Canadian Coupled General Circulation Model, forced with different emission scenarios. The hydrological model SLURP is used to simulate runoff. All downscaling methods agree that temperature will increase with time and that precipitation will also increase, although there is considerably more uncertainty in the magnitude of precipitation change. The study concludes that the change in total annual precipitation does not necessarily translate into similar changes in runoff. The seasonal distribution of precipitation changes is important for runoff, as is the increase in evapotranspiration. The choice of downscaling method appears to have a greater impact on runoff projections than the choice of emission scenario. Therefore, it is important to consider several downscaling methods when evaluating the impact of climate change on runoff.


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