Robust estimates of climate-induced hydrological change in a temperate mountainous region

Köplin, Nina; Rössler, Ole Kristen; Schädler, Bruno; Weingartner, Rolf (2014). Robust estimates of climate-induced hydrological change in a temperate mountainous region. Climatic change, 122(1-2), pp. 171-184. Springer 10.1007/s10584-013-1015-x

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A sustainable water resources management depends on sound information about the impacts of climate change. This information is, however, not easily derived because natural runoff variability interferes with the climate change signal. This study presents a procedure that leads to robust estimates of magnitude and Time Of Emergence (TOE) of climate-induced hydrological change that also account for the natural variability contained in the time series. Firstly, natural variability of 189 mesoscale catchments in Switzerland is sampled for 10 ENSEMBLES scenarios for the control (1984–2005) and two scenario periods (near future: 2025–2046, far future: 2074–2095) applying a bootstrap procedure. Then, the sampling distributions of mean monthly runoff are tested for significant differences with the Wilcoxon-Mann–Whitney test and for effect size with Cliff’s delta d. Finally, the TOE of a climate change induced hydrological change is determined when at least eight out of the ten hydrological projections significantly differ from natural variability. The results show that the TOE occurs in the near future period except for high-elevated catchments in late summer. The significant hydrological projections in the near future correspond, however, to only minor runoff changes. In the far future, hydrological change is statistically significant and runoff changes are substantial. Temperature change is the most important factor determining hydrological change in this mountainous region. Therefore, hydrological change depends strongly on a catchment’s mean elevation. Considering that the hydrological changes are predicted to be robust in the near future highlights the importance of accounting for these changes in water resources planning.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Hydrology
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography

UniBE Contributor:

Köplin, Nina, Rössler, Ole Kristen, Schädler, Bruno, Weingartner, Rolf


900 History > 910 Geography & travel








Monika Wälti-Stampfli

Date Deposited:

15 Sep 2014 13:55

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:34

Publisher DOI:





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