Articles | Volume 5, issue 1
13 Mar 2013
 | 13 Mar 2013

Future Flows Hydrology: an ensemble of daily river flow and monthly groundwater levels for use for climate change impact assessment across Great Britain

C. Prudhomme, T. Haxton, S. Crooks, C. Jackson, A. Barkwith, J. Williamson, J. Kelvin, J. Mackay, L. Wang, A. Young, and G. Watts

Abstract. The dataset Future Flows Hydrology was developed as part of the project "Future Flows and Groundwater Levels'' to provide a consistent set of transient daily river flow and monthly groundwater level projections across England, Wales and Scotland to enable the investigation of the role of climate variability on river flow and groundwater levels nationally and how this may change in the future.

Future Flows Hydrology is derived from Future Flows Climate, a national ensemble projection derived from the Hadley Centre's ensemble projection HadRM3-PPE to provide a consistent set of climate change projections for the whole of Great Britain at both space and time resolutions appropriate for hydrological applications. Three hydrological models and one groundwater level model were used to derive Future Flows Hydrology, with 30 river sites simulated by two hydrological models to enable assessment of hydrological modelling uncertainty in studying the impact of climate change on the hydrology.

Future Flows Hydrology contains an 11-member ensemble of transient projections from January 1951 to December 2098, each associated with a single realisation from a different variant of HadRM3 and a single hydrological model. Daily river flows are provided for 281 river catchments and monthly groundwater levels at 24 boreholes as .csv files containing all 11 ensemble members. When separate simulations are done with two hydrological models, two separate .csv files are provided.

Because of potential biases in the climate–hydrology modelling chain, catchment fact sheets are associated with each ensemble. These contain information on the uncertainty associated with the hydrological modelling when driven using observed climate and Future Flows Climate for a period representative of the reference time slice 1961–1990 as described by key hydrological statistics. Graphs of projected changes for selected hydrological indicators are also provided for the 2050s time slice. Limitations associated with the dataset are provided, along with practical recommendation of use.

Future Flows Hydrology is freely available for non-commercial use under certain licensing conditions. For each study site, catchment averages of daily precipitation and monthly potential evapotranspiration, used to drive the hydrological models, are made available, so that hydrological modelling uncertainty under climate change conditions can be explored further.