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Rousseau A.N.,INRS ETE | Klein I.M.,INRS ETE | Freudiger D.,INRS ETE | Freudiger D.,ETH Zurich | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Hydrology | Year: 2014

Climate change (CC) needs to be accounted for in the estimation of probable maximum floods (PMFs). However, there does not exist a unique way to estimate PMFs and, furthermore the challenge in estimating them is that they should neither be underestimated for safety reasons nor overestimated for economical ones. By estimating PMFs without accounting for CC, the risk of underestimation could be high for Quebec, Canada, since future climate simulations indicate that in all likelihood extreme precipitation events will intensify. In this paper, simulation outputs from the Canadian Regional Climate Model (CRCM) are used to develop a methodology to estimate probable maximum precipitations (PMPs) while accounting for changing climate conditions for the southern region of the Province of Quebec, Canada. The Kénogami and Yamaska watersheds are herein of particular interest, since dam failures could lead to major downstream impacts. Precipitable water (w) represents one of the key variables in the estimation process of PMPs. Results of stationary tests indicate that CC will not only affect precipitation and temperature but also the monthly maximum precipitable water, wmax, and the ensuing maximization ratio used for the estimation of PMPs. An up-to-date computational method is developed to maximize w using a non-stationary frequency analysis, and then calculate the maximization ratios. The ratios estimated this way are deemed reliable since they rarely exceed threshold values set for Quebec, and, therefore, provide consistent PMP estimates. The results show an overall significant increase of the PMPs throughout the current century compared to the recent past. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

De Elia R.,Ouranos Consortium on Regional Climate and Adaptation to Climate Change | De Elia R.,University of Quebec at Montreal | Cote H.,Ouranos Consortium on Regional Climate and Adaptation to Climate Change
Meteorologische Zeitschrift | Year: 2010

Climate simulations performed with Regional Climate Models (RCMs) have been found to show sensitivity to parameter settings. The origin, consequences and interpretations of this sensitivity are varied, but it is generally accepted that sensitivity studies are very important for a better understanding and a more cautious manipulation of RCM results. In this work we present sensitivity experiments performed on the simulated climate produced by the Canadian Regional Climate Model (CRCM). In addition to climate sensitivity to parameter variation, we analyse the impact of the sensitivity on the climate change signal simulated by the CRCM.These studies are performed on 30-year long simulated present and future seasonal climates, and we have analysed the effect of seven kinds of configuration modifications: CRCM initial conditions, lateral boundary condition (LBC), nesting update interval, driving Global Climate Model (GCM), driving GCM member, large-scale spectral nudging, CRCM version, and domain size. Results show that large changes in both the driving model and the CRCM physics seem to be the main sources of sensitivity for the simulated climate and the climate change. Their effects dominate those of configuration issues, such as the use or not of large-scale nudging, domain size, or LBC update interval. Results suggest that in most cases, differences between simulated climates for different CRCM configurations are not transferred to the estimated climate change signal: in general, these tend to cancel each other out. © Gebrüder Borntraeger, Stuttgart 2010.

Frigon A.,Ouranos Consortium on Regional Climate and Adaptation to Climate Change | Music B.,Ouranos INRS ETE | Slivitzky M.,Ouranos Consortium on Regional Climate and Adaptation to Climate Change
Meteorologische Zeitschrift | Year: 2010

An analysis was carried out of the sensitivity of runoff simulations from version 4.2 of the Canadian Regional Climate Model (CRCM) to the frequency of lateral boundary condition (LBC) forcing at 6 and 12-hour intervals. The motivation for this study was that some climate model output may only be available at a 12-hour interval and it is important to know if CRCM runs with these outputs are comparable to runs made with 6-hourly forcing. The LBC sensitivity was assessed over two different regional domains (North America and Quebec) for annual runoff simulated over 21 river basins located in the Quebec/Labrador peninsula. The sensitivity results were compared with the CRCM's internal variability and natural climate variability to reach conclusions about the relative importance of LBC update frequency. The results show that LBC frequency can have a significant influence on mean annual runoff over the investigated basins when the simulation domain is relatively small, as in the case of the Quebec, but not for the larger North American (AMNO) domain runs. The entire ensemble of five members of the Canadian Coupled Global Climate Model (CGCM3) can therefore be safely used to generate dynamically downscaled projections over the basins, even though three of the members were archived at a 12-hourly interval. Climate projections for the 2041-2070 horizon (with SRES-A2), from a five-member ensemble of CRCM 45-km runs performed over the AMNO domain (driven by each of the five CGCM3 members), project an increase of annual runoff over all investigated river basins with the largest changes towards the north. This ensemble also provides an estimate of uncertainty of projected basin runoff change related to natural variability, but there remains a need to consider additional projections (more RCMs, more driving GCMs) to produce a more complete assessment of uncertainty. © Gebrüder Borntraeger, Stuttgart 2010.

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