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Seasonal hydrological prediction in Great Britain – an assessment

Lavers, David Anthony (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This thesis assesses seasonal hydrological prediction in Great Britain. Firstly, the study evaluates river flow prediction using climate model output to drive a rainfall-runoff model in the Dyfi basin, Wales. Results show that climate model precipitation can not skilfully simulate Dyfi discharge. When a downscaling process is employed to generate precipitation time series, river flow forecast skill improves, but historical river flows still provide superior forecasts. Secondly, large-scale climatic control on British precipitation/discharge and European precipitation is investigated by correlation analysis. Results show spatiotemporal hydroclimatological variation, with western regions generally having stronger empirical relationships. River flow has weaker associations because of basin controls and evapotranspiration. The dynamic nature of precipitation/discharge generating mechanisms is not captured by the North Atlantic Oscillation Index. Thirdly, seasonal climate model forecast skill is evaluated. Limited skill exists over land and over all extratropical regions for forecasts beyond month-1; precipitation has lower skill than 2-metre air temperature and mean sea level pressure. Seasonal climate models exhibit higher idealised predictive skill indicating potential for future increases in actual predictive skill. In conclusion, seasonal hydrological prediction using a climate-to-river modelling chain could be improved through consideration of the uncovered spatiotemporal hydroclimatological variability and through seasonal climate modelling improvements.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Hannah, David M.
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Additional Information:

Research from this thesis is published in:
Lavers, D. A., Prudhomme, C. & Hannah, D. M. (2010) Large-scale Climatic Influences on Precipitation and Discharge for a British River Basin. Hydrol. Processes, 24, 2555- 2563.
Lavers, D. A., Prudhomme, C. & Hannah, D. M. (2010) Large-scale climate, precipitation and British river flows: identifying hydroclimatological connections and dynamics. Journal of Hydrology, 395, 242-255.
Lavers, D., Luo, L. F. and Wood, E. F. (2009). A multiple model assessment of seasonal climate forecast skill for applications. Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L23711, doi:10.1029/2009GL041365. or

Subjects:G Geography (General)
GE Environmental Sciences
GB Physical geography
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1360
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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