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Uncertainty in modeled and observed climate change impacts on American Midwest hydrology

Winter, Jonathan M. and Yeh, Pat J.-F. and Fu, Xiaojing and Eltahir, Elfatih A. B. (2015) Uncertainty in modeled and observed climate change impacts on American Midwest hydrology. Water Resources Research, 51 (5). pp. 3635-3646. ISSN 0043-1397. doi:10.1002/2014wr016056.

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An important potential consequence of climate change is the modification of the water cycle in agricultural areas, such as the American Midwest. Soil moisture is the integrand of the water cycle, reflecting dynamics of precipitation, evapotranspiration, and runoff in space and time, and a key determinant of yield. Here we present projected changes in the hydrologic cycle over a representative area of the American Midwest from regional climate model experiments that sample a range of model configurations. While significant summer soil moisture drying is predicted in some ensemble members, others predict soil moisture wetting, with the sign of soil moisture response strongly influenced by choice of boundary conditions. To resolve the contradictory predictions of soil moisture across ensemble members, we assess an extensive and unique observational data set of the water budget in Illinois. No statistically significant monotonic trends are found in observed soil moisture, precipitation, streamflow, groundwater level, or 2 m air temperature over a recent 26 year period (soil moisture 25 years). Based on this analysis of model simulations and observations, we conclude that the sign of climate change impacts on the regional hydrology of the American Midwest remains uncertain.

Item Type:Article
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Fu, Xiaojing0000-0001-7120-704X
Additional Information:© 2015 American Geophysical Union. Issue Online: 16 June 2015; Version of Record online: 22 May 2015; Accepted manuscript online: 25 April 2015; Manuscript accepted: 22 April 2015; Manuscript received: 27 June 2014. We thank the Eltahir Group and the International Centre for Theoretical Physics for assistance and support, as well as our editor, associate editor, and reviewers for their thoughtful feedback. Jeremy Pal and Marc Marcella provided valuable contributions during model development and analysis. This work was funded by the National Science Foundation. Data can be obtained by contacting the corresponding author.
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Subject Keywords:soil moisture; climate change; hydrology; regional climate modeling; American Midwest
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20201130-141059818
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Official Citation:Winter, J. M., Yeh, P. J.‐F., Fu, X., and Eltahir, E. A. B. (2015), Uncertainty in modeled and observed climate change impacts on American Midwest hydrology, Water Resour. Res., 51, 3635– 3646, doi:10.1002/2014WR016056
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:106848
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:02 Dec 2020 20:11
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:57

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