Impacts of climate change on temperature, precipitation and hydrology in Finland – studies using bias corrected Regional Climate Model data
Abstract. Assessment of climate change impacts on climate and hydrology on catchment scale requires reliable information about the average values and climate fluctuations of the past, present and future. Regional climate models (RCMs) used in impact studies often produce biased time series of meteorological variables. In this study bias correction (BC) of RCM temperature and precipitation for Finland is carried out using different versions of the distribution based scaling (DBS) method. The DBS-adjusted RCM data are used as input of a hydrological model to simulate changes in discharges of four study catchments in different parts of Finland. The annual mean discharges and seasonal variation simulated with the DBS-adjusted temperature and precipitation data are sufficiently close to observed discharges in the control period 1961–2000 and produce more realistic projections for mean annual and seasonal changes in discharges than the uncorrected RCM data. Furthermore, with most scenarios the DBS method used preserves the temperature and precipitation trends of the uncorrected RCM data during 1961–2100. However, if the biases in the mean or the standard deviation of the uncorrected temperatures are large, significant biases after DBS adjustment may remain or temperature trends may change, increasing the uncertainty of climate change projections. The DBS method influences especially the projected seasonal changes in discharges and the use of uncorrected data can produce unrealistic seasonal discharges and changes. The projected changes in annual mean discharges are moderate or small, but seasonal distribution of discharges will change significantly.