Decadal Prediction and Stochastic Simulation of Hydroclimate Over Monsoonal Asia

Monsoons drive seasonal variations. Yet climate change threatens to disrupt the regular, alternating periods of rain and arid dryness. The dry season may become more arid, driving water demand, while the rainy season may condense higher precipitation levels into shorter periods, increasing the possibility of heavy flooding while decreasing the ability to capture and store water. Increased rainfall and flood conditions facilitate the spread of disease in areas where the population lacks access to clean water and sanitation. Thus, managing water scarcity is a critical challenge for many Asian nations with similar climates.

This project brings together climate dynamicists (UCLA, IRI), dendroclimatologists (LDEO Tree Ring Laboratory), computer scientists (UCI), and hydrologists (Columbia Water Center, CWC), together with applied scientists in climate risk management (IRI) to create new scientific approaches to quantify and exploit the role of climate variability and change in the growing water crisis across southern and eastern Asia.

Project Goals

  • Develop new tree-ring based streamflow reconstructions for rivers in monsoonal Asia;
  • Improve understanding of hydrologic spatio-temporal modes of variability over monsoonal Asia on interannual-to-centennial time scales;
  • Assess decadal predictability of hydrologic spatio-temporal modes through new development and testing of statistical for decadal prediction of river flows over monsoonal Asia;
  • Further develop Monte Carlo stochastic simulation methods to merge the decadal predictions with GCM climate change projections, thus creating downscaled future climate scenarios to 2050, together with estimates of uncertainties via quantification of the full probability density function;
  • Develop stochastic reservoir simulation and optimization for scheduling hydropower, irrigation and navigation releases through hydrologic modeling case studies for two major reservoir systems over Asia, namely that of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) that manages one of the largest reservoir operations in India (in Punjab), and the Yangtze River Three Gorges Dam reservoir in China.

This project is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.