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  • Bo, J., L. Terray, E. Martin and F. Habets, 2008: Changes in components of the hydrological cycle in French river basins during the 21st century. Water Resour. Res. Submitted.

The main objective of this paper is to study the impacts of climate change on the hydrological cycle of the main French river basins, including the different uncertainties at stake. In particular, the relative importance of modelling uncertainty versus that of downscaling uncertainty is investigated. An ensemble of climate scenarios are statistically downscaled in order to force an hydro-meteorological model over France. Then, the main changes in different variables of the hydrological cycle are studied. Despite large modelling uncertainties, some robust signals already appear in the middle of the 21st century. In particular a decrease of mean discharges in summer and fall, a decrease of soil moisture, a decrease of the snow cover, especially pronounced at the low and intermediate altitudes are simulated. The low flows become more frequent and the changes in high flows are weak in ensemble mean but uncertain. To give an estimate of downscaling uncertainty, two other methods are used to assess the robustness of the results obtained with the statistical downscaling method. The first one is a dynamical downscaling methodology based on a variable resolution atmospheric model, with a quantile-quantile bias correction of the model variables. The other is the simple anomaly method, that consists to perturb present climate observations by the climatological change simulated by global climate models. After hydrological modeling some discrepancies exist among the results from the different downscaling methods. However they remain limited and to a large extent smaller than the modelling uncertainties, which raises important methodological considerations.

Last Updated: 2008-09-24

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