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Flood frequency under changing climate in the upper Kafue River basin, southern Africa: a large scale hydrological model application
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
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2013 (English)In: Stochastic environmental research and risk assessment (Print), ISSN 1436-3240, E-ISSN 1436-3259, Vol. 27, no 8, 1883-1898 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The projected impacts of climate change and variability on floods in the southern Africa has not been well studied despite the threat they pose to human life and property. In this study, the potential impacts of climate change on floods in the upper Kafue River basin, a major tributary of the Zambezi River in southern Africa, were investigated. Catchment hydrography was delineated using the Hydro1k at a spatial resolution of 1 km. The daily global hydrological model WASMOD-D model was calibrated and validated during 1971-1986 and 1987-2001 with the simple-split sample test and during 1971-1980 and 1981-1990 with the differential split sample test, against observed discharge at Machiya gauging station. Predicted discharge for 2021-2050 and 2071-2100 were obtained by forcing the calibrated WASMOD-D with outputs from three GCMs (ECHAM, CMCC3 and IPSL) under the IPCC's SRES A2 and B1 scenarios. The three GCMs derived daily discharges were combined by assigning a weight to each of them according to their skills to reproduce the daily discharge. The two calibration and validation tests suggested that model performance based on evaluation criteria including the Nash-Sutcliffe coefficient, Pearson's correlation coefficient (r), Percent Bias and R (2) was satisfactory. Flood frequency analysis for the reference period (1960-1990) and two future time slices and climate change scenarios was performed using the peak over threshold analysis. The magnitude of flood peaks was shown to follow generalised Pareto distribution. The simulated floods in the scenario periods showed considerable departures from the reference period. In general, flood events increased during both scenario periods with 2021-2050 showing larger change. The approach in our study has a strong potential for similar assessments in other data scarce regions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 27, no 8, 1883-1898 p.
Keyword [en]
Climate change, Floods, WASMOD-D, Peak over threshold, Kafue River, Southern Africa
National Category
Environmental Sciences Engineering and Technology Climate Research
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-95733DOI: 10.1007/s00477-013-0724-zISI: 000325373600008OAI: diva2:662500


Available from: 2013-11-07 Created: 2013-11-04 Last updated: 2013-11-07Bibliographically approved

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Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology
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