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Uncertainty in the estimation of potential evapotranspiration under climate change

Kingston, DG; Todd, MC; Taylor, RG; Thompson, JR; Arnell, NW; (2009) Uncertainty in the estimation of potential evapotranspiration under climate change. Geophysical Research Letters , 36 , Article L20403. 10.1029/2009GL040267. Green open access

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Abstract

21st century climate change is projected to result in an intensification of the global hydrological cycle, but there is substantial uncertainty in how this will impact freshwater availability. A relatively overlooked aspect of this uncertainty pertains to how different methods of estimating potential evapotranspiration (PET) respond to changing climate. Here we investigate the global response of six different PET methods to a 2 degrees C rise in global mean temperature. All methods suggest an increase in PET associated with a warming climate. However, differences in PET climate change signal of over 100% are found between methods. Analysis of a precipitation/PET aridity index and regional water surplus indicates that for certain regions and GCMs, choice of PET method can actually determine the direction of projections of future water resources. As such, method dependence of the PET climate change signal is an important source of uncertainty in projections of future freshwater availability. Citation: Kingston, D. G., M. C. Todd, R. G. Taylor, J. R. Thompson, and N. W. Arnell (2009), Uncertainty in the estimation of potential evapotranspiration under climate change, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L20403, doi: 10.1029/2009GL040267.

Type: Article
Title: Uncertainty in the estimation of potential evapotranspiration under climate change
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1029/2009GL040267
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2009GL040267
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union
Keywords: Water-balance, Model, Evaporation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/151471
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