Amongst the impacts of climate change, those arising from extreme hydrological events are expected to cause the greatest impacts. To assess the changes in temperature and precipitation and their impacts on the discharge in the upper Yangtze Basin from pre-industrial to the end of 21st century, four hydrological models were integrated with four global climate models. Results indicated that mean discharge was simulated to increase slightly for all hydrological models forced by all global climate models during 1771–1800 and 1871–1900 relative to the 1971–2000 reference period, whereas the change directions in mean discharge were not consistent among the four global climate models during 2070–2099, with increases from HadGEM2-ES and MIROC5, and decreases from GFDL-ESM2M and IPSL-CM5A-LR. Additionally, our results indicated that decreases in precipitation may always result in the decrease in mean discharge, but increases in precipitation did not always lead to increases in discharge due to high temperature rise. The changes in extreme flood events with different return intervals were also explored. These extreme events were projected to become more intense and frequent in the future, which could have potential devastating impacts on the society and ecosystem in this region.
- Oceanografi, hydrologi, vattenresurser