Effects of Bias-Correcting Climate Model Data on the Projection of Future Changes in High Flows

Bias-correction methods are commonly applied to climate model data in hydrological climate impact studies. This is due to the often large deviations between simulated and observed climate variables. These biases may cause unrealistic simulation results when directly using the climate model data as input for hydrological models. Our analysis of the EURO-CORDEX (Coordinated Downscaling Experiment for Europe) data for the Northwestern part of Germany showed substantial biases for all climatological input variables needed by the hydrological model PANTA RHEI. The sensitivity for climatological input data demonstrated that changes in only one climate variable significantly aect the simulated average discharge and mean annual peak flow. The application of bias correction methods of dierent complexity on the climate model data improved the plausibility of hydrological modeling results for the historical period 1971–2000. The projections for the future period 2069–2099 for high flows indicate on average small changes for representative concentration pathway (RCP) 4.5 and an increase of approximately 10% for RCP8.5 when applying non-bias corrected climate model data. These values significantly diered when applying bias correction. The bias correction methods were evaluated in terms of their ability to (a) maintain the change signal for precipitation and (b) the goodness of fit for hydrological parameters for the historical period. Our results for this evaluation indicated that no bias correction method can explicitly be preferred over the others.


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