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The global-scale impacts of climate change on water resources and flooding under new climate and socio-economic scenarios

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  • Nigel Arnell

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  • Ben Lloyd-Hughes

Abstract

This paper presents a preliminary assessment of the relative effects of rate of climate change (four Representative Concentration Pathways - RCPs), assumed future population (five Shared Socio-economic Pathways - SSPs), and pattern of climate change (19 CMIP5 climate models) on regional and global exposure to water resources stress and river flooding. Uncertainty in projected future impacts of climate change on exposure to water stress and river flooding is dominated by uncertainty in the projected spatial and seasonal pattern of change in climate. There is little clear difference in impact between RCP2.6, RCP4.5 and RCP6.0 in 2050, and between RCP4.5 and RCP6.0 in 2080. Impacts under RCP8.5 are greater than under the other RCPs in 2050 and 2080. For a given RCP, there is a difference in the absolute numbers of people exposed to increased water resources stress or increased river flood frequency between the five SSPs. With the ‘middle-of-the-road’ SSP2, climate change by 2050 would increase exposure to water resources stress for between approximately 920 and 3,400 million people under the highest RCP, and increase exposure to river flood risk for between 100 and 580 million people. Under RCP2.6, exposure to increased water scarcity would be reduced in 2050 by 22-24 %, compared to impacts under the RCP8.5, and exposure to increased flood frequency would be reduced by around 16 %. The implications of climate change for actual future losses and adaptation depend not only on the numbers of people exposed to changes in risk, but also on the qualitative characteristics of future worlds as described in the different SSPs. The difference in ‘actual’ impact between SSPs will therefore be greater than the differences in numbers of people exposed to impact. Copyright The Author(s) 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Nigel Arnell & Ben Lloyd-Hughes, 2014. "The global-scale impacts of climate change on water resources and flooding under new climate and socio-economic scenarios," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 122(1), pages 127-140, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:climat:v:122:y:2014:i:1:p:127-140
    DOI: 10.1007/s10584-013-0948-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. B.C. O'Neill & T Carter & Kl Ebi & J. Edmonds & Stéphane Hallegatte & E. Kemp-Benedict & E. Kriegler & L. Mearns & R. Moss & K. Riahi & B. van Ruijven & D. van Vuuren, 2012. "Meeting Report of the Workshop on The Nature and Use of New Socioeconomic Pathways for Climate Change Research," Working Papers hal-00801931, HAL.
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    1. Abdelaziz A Gohar & Adrian Cashman & Abdelaziz A Gohar, 2017. "Climate Change Impacts on Water Scarcity and Food Security in Tropical Environments: The Case of Caribbean Region," International Journal of Environmental Sciences & Natural Resources, Juniper Publishers Inc., vol. 3(2), pages 57-59, - July.
    2. Min Zhu & Zengxin Zhang & Bin Zhu & Rui Kong & Fengying Zhang & Jiaxi Tian & Tong Jiang, 2020. "Population and Economic Projections in the Yangtze River Basin Based on Shared Socioeconomic Pathways," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(10), pages 1-21, May.
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    6. Hisham Eldardiry & Emad Habib & David M. Borrok, 2020. "Accounting for Inter-Annual and Seasonal Variability in Assessment of Water Supply Stress: Perspectives from a humid region in the USA," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 34(8), pages 2517-2534, June.
    7. A. L. Kay & V. A. Bell & B. P. Guillod & R. G. Jones & A. C. Rudd, 2018. "National-scale analysis of low flow frequency: historical trends and potential future changes," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 147(3), pages 585-599, April.
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    9. H. Moel & B. Jongman & H. Kreibich & B. Merz & E. Penning-Rowsell & P. Ward, 2015. "Flood risk assessments at different spatial scales," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 20(6), pages 865-890, August.
    10. Hisham Eldardiry & Emad Habib & David M. Borrok, 0. "Accounting for Inter-Annual and Seasonal Variability in Assessment of Water Supply Stress: Perspectives from a humid region in the USA," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 0, pages 1-18.
    11. Shuhui Yang & Xuefeng Cui, 2019. "Building Regional Sustainable Development Scenarios with the SSP Framework," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(20), pages 1-13, October.
    12. S. Eisner & M. Flörke & A. Chamorro & P. Daggupati & C. Donnelly & J. Huang & Y. Hundecha & H. Koch & A. Kalugin & I. Krylenko & V. Mishra & M. Piniewski & L. Samaniego & O. Seidou & M. Wallner & V. K, 2017. "An ensemble analysis of climate change impacts on streamflow seasonality across 11 large river basins," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 141(3), pages 401-417, April.
    13. Alem, Douglas & Clark, Alistair & Moreno, Alfredo, 2016. "Stochastic network models for logistics planning in disaster relief," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 255(1), pages 187-206.
    14. Pei Xu & Yingman Guo & Bin Fu, 2019. "Regional Impacts of Climate and Land Cover on Ecosystem Water Retention Services in the Upper Yangtze River Basin," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(19), pages 1-19, September.
    15. Andrea Momblanch & Lindsay Beevers & Pradeep Srinivasalu & Anil Kulkarni & Ian P. Holman, 2020. "Enhancing production and flow of freshwater ecosystem services in a managed Himalayan river system under uncertain future climate," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 162(2), pages 343-361, September.
    16. Vito Frontuto & Silvana Dalmazzone & Francesco Salcuni & Alessandro Pezzoli, 2020. "Risk Aversion, Inequality and Economic Evaluation of Flood Damages: A Case Study in Ecuador," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(23), pages 1-17, December.
    17. Nigel W. Arnell & Simon N. Gosling, 2016. "The impacts of climate change on river flood risk at the global scale," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 134(3), pages 387-401, February.
    18. Tamm, Ottar & Tamm, Toomas, 2020. "Verification of a robust method for sizing and siting the small hydropower run-of-river plant potential by using GIS," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 153-159.
    19. Andimuthu Ramachandran & Kandasamy Palanivelu & B V Mudgal & Anushiya Jeganathan & Sankar Guganesh & Balu Abinaya & Arunbabu Elangovan, 2019. "Climate change impact on fluvial flooding in the Indian sub-basin: A case study on the Adyar sub-basin," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 14(5), pages 1-24, May.
    20. Nigel Arnell & Simon Gosling, 2016. "The impacts of climate change on river flood risk at the global scale," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 134(3), pages 387-401, February.
    21. Guillaume Rohat & Johannes Flacke & Hy Dao & Martin Maarseveen, 2018. "Co-use of existing scenario sets to extend and quantify the shared socioeconomic pathways," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 151(3), pages 619-636, December.
    22. Nicholas A. Cradock-Henry & Bob Frame & Benjamin L. Preston & Andy Reisinger & Dale S. Rothman, 2018. "Dynamic adaptive pathways in downscaled climate change scenarios," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 150(3), pages 333-341, October.

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