Disentangling the Sources of Uncertainties in the Projection of Flood Risk Across the Central United States (Iowa)

Publication Year


Journal Article
Abstract We explore the projected changes in flood impacts across Iowa (central United States) and the associated uncertainties by forcing a hydrologic model with downscaled global climate model outputs and four Shared Socioeconomic Pathways. Our results point to projected increasing magnitude and variability in flooding across the state, especially for high-emission scenarios. Next, we partition the flood impacts projections into: (a) the response of the global climate models to anthropogenic forcing, (b) scenario uncertainty due to emissions, and (c) internal climate variability. We find scenario uncertainty plays a small role, while climate model uncertainty and internal climate variability dominate the flood impacts projections, with the contribution of model uncertainty increasing toward the end of this century. Insights from our work can be utilized by stakeholders to understand the current limitations of flood impact projections and provide suggestions about where modelers should focus efforts to reduce uncertainty.
Geophysical Research Letters