Simulations with seven regional climate models driven by a common control climate simulation of a GCM carried out for Europe in the context of the EU-funded PRUDENCE project were analysed with respect to land surface hydrology in the Rhine basin. In particular, the annual cycle of the terrestrial water storage was compared to analyses based on ERA40 atmospheric convergence and observed Rhine discharge data. In addition, an analysis was made of the partitioning of convergence anomalies over anomalies in runoff and storage. This analysis revealed that most models underestimate the size of the water storage and consequently overestimated the response of runoff to anomalies in net convergence. The partitioning of these anomalies over runoff and storage were indicative for the response of the simulated runoff to a projected climate change consistent with the A2 SRES greenhouse gas emission scenario. In particular the annual cycle of runoff is affected largely by the terrestrial storage reservoir. Larger storage capacity leads to smaller changes in both wintertime and summertime monthly mean runoff. The sustained summertime evaporation resulting from larger storage reservoirs may have a noticeable impact on the summertime surface temperature projections.
BJJM van den Hurk, M Hirschi, C Schaer, G Lenderink, E van Meijgaard, A van Ulden, B Rockel, S Hagemann, LP Graham, E Kjellstroem. Soil control on runoff response to climate change in regional climate model simulations