Investigation of Rain-On-Snow Floods under Climate Change

Authors: Cenk Sezen and Mojca Šraj and Anže Medved and Nejc Bezak
Journal: Applied Sciences
Year: 2020

Rain-on-snow (ROS) floods can cause economic damage and endanger human lives due to the compound effect of rainfall and snowmelt, especially under climate change. In this study, possible future changes of seasonality, magnitude and frequency characteristics of ROS floods were investigated for the selected catchments in Slovenia, Europe. For this purpose, five global/regional climate models (GCM/RCM) combinations were applied using the RCP4.5 climate scenario for the period 1981–2100. To determine ROS floods’ characteristics in the future, a lumped conceptual hydrological model Génie Rural à 6 paramètres Journalier (GR6J) with snow module CemaNeige was applied. The results indicate that the number of ROS floods could increase in the future. Moreover, also the magnitudes of extreme ROS floods could increase, while a slight decrease in the median values of ROS flood magnitudes was observed. The strength of seasonality for a high-altitude catchment could decrease in the future. A slight shift in the average ROS floods’ timing could be expected. Furthermore, a catchment located in a temperate continental climate could have a different response to the climate change impact in comparison to a catchment located in a mountain climate with alpine characteristics. Additionally, differences among investigated climate models show a large variability.