Impact of climate change on runoff from a mid-latitude mountainous catchment in central Japan

Yoshinori Shinohara, Tomo'omi Kumagai, Kyoichi Otsuki, Atsushi Kume, Naoya Wada

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26 Citations (Scopus)


Hydrologic balance in high-altitude, mid-latitude mountain areas is important in terms of the water resources available to associated lowlands. This study examined how current and historical shifts in precipitation (P) patterns and concurrent increases in temperature (T) affected runoff (Q) and other hydrologic components in a mid-latitude mountain catchment of central Japan, using a combination of long-term data and a simplified hydrologic model, along with their stochastic treatment. The availability of intensive meteorological and hydrological data from the period 1997-2001 allowed the derivation of key relationships for the current climate that tie the forcing term to the parameters or state variables. By using the data recorded in the period 1965-2001, the force for driving the historical simulation was generated. Based on this model and historical shifts in P and T, the probability density functions of Q (pdf(Q)) was computed. A main novelty in this study is that such a stochastic representation, which is useful for considering the influence of projected shifts in environmental factors on the hydrologic budget, was provided. Despite the large increase in the rate of T in winter and spring, pdf(Q) in spring and summer varied appreciably during the time studied mainly because of an increase in snowmelt. An interannual change in whole-year Q was robust to shifts in T because while Q in spring increased, in summer it decreased, implying a crucial effect of global warming on mountain hydrologic regimes is change in the timing of Q.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1418-1429
Number of pages12
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - May 15 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology


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