Global assessment of agreement among streamflow projections using CMIP5 model outputs

Sujan Koirala, Yukiko Hirabayashi, Roobavannan Mahendran, Shinjiro Kanae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)


Runoff outputs from 11 atmosphere-ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs) participating in the fifth phase of Coupled Model Intercomparison Project were used to evaluate the changes in streamflow and agreement among AOGCMs at the end of 21st century. Under the highest emission scenario (Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) 8.5), high flow is projected to increase in northern high latitudes of Eurasia and North America, Asia, and eastern Africa, while mean and low flows are both projected to decrease in Europe, Middle East, southwestern United States, and Central America. Projected changes under RCP4.5 show similar spatial distribution but with lower magnitude. The model spread of projected changes, however, is found to be large under both scenarios. Bootstrapped Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon U test revealed that projected changes of streamflow regimes are statistically not significant in 8-32% (19-59%) of the world under RCP8.5 (RCP4.5). The model agreement on projected increase or decrease in mean and high flows is stronger under RCP8.5 than that under RCP4.5. On the other hand, the projected changes in low flow are robust in both scenarios with strong model agreement. In ∼7% (4%) of the world, high flow is projected to increase and low flow is projected to decrease, whereas in ∼29% (13%) all mean, high, and low flows are projected to increase under RCP8.5 (RCP4.5).

Original languageEnglish
Article number064017
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jun 1
Externally publishedYes


  • CMIP5
  • agreement
  • climate change
  • high flow
  • low flow
  • streamflow
  • uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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