Flood Frequency Analysis of Future Climate Projections in the Cache Creek Watershed

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Ida Fischer1, Toan Trihn1, Kei Ishida1, Suhyung Jang2, Erol Kavvas1 and ML Levent Kavvas1, (1)University of California Davis, Davis, CA, United States, (2)Korea Water Resources Corporation, Korea Institute of Water and Environment, Daejeon, South Korea
Effects of climate change on hydrologic flow regimes, particularly extreme events, necessitate modeling of future flows to best inform water resources management. Future flow projections may be modeled through the joint use of carbon emission scenarios, general circulation models and watershed models. This research effort ran 13 simulations for carbon emission scenarios (taken from the A1, A2 and B1 families) over the 21st century (2001-2100) for the Cache Creek watershed in Northern California. Atmospheric data from general circulation models, CCSM3 and ECHAM5, were dynamically downscaled to a 9 km resolution using MM5, a regional mesoscale model, before being input into the physically based watershed environmental hydrology (WEHY) model. Ensemble mean and standard deviation of simulated flows describe the expected hydrologic system response. Frequency histograms and cumulative distribution functions characterize the range of hydrologic responses that may occur. The modeled flow results comprise a dataset suitable for time series and frequency analysis allowing for more robust system characterization, including indices such as the 100 year flood return period. These results are significant for water quality management as the Cache Creek watershed is severely impacted by mercury pollution from historic mining activities. Extreme flow events control mercury fate and transport affecting the downstream water bodies of the Sacramento River and Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta which provide drinking water to over 25 million people.