Intercomparison of hydrological impacts of moderate and high-end climate change projections across European river basins

19:00 Tuesday 28 May




Anastasia Lobanova (Germany) 1; Stefan Liersch (Germany) 1; Joao Pedro Nunes (Portugal) 2; Iulii Didovets (Germany) 1; Judith Stagl (Germany) 1; Shaochun Huang (Norway) 3; Rocio Rivas-Lopez (Germany) 1; Cathrine Fox Maule (Germany) 4; Fred Hattermann (Germany) 1

1 - Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research; 2 - University of Lisboa; 3 - Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate; 4 - Statics Denmark

While the Paris target of limiting the global warming to 2ºC was a huge success of many years of negotiations, the achievement of this goal still remains a significant societal challenge. Given the recent trends in the greenhouse gases emissions that are pointing to the high-end climate change trajectories.

The projected changes in climate may impact hydrological patterns of the rivers and water resources availability across Europe in different ways: from obviously negative effects in some regions to creation of opportunities in others. To provide a glance onto hydrological impacts of the high-end climate change scenarios above 2ºC global warming across Europe this climate impact study focuses on the eight European representative basins: Tagus in Iberian Peninsula; Emon and Lule in Scandinavia; Rhine, Danube and Teteriv in Central and Eastern Europe; Tay in British Isles, and Northern Dvina in North-East Europe. The eight river basins are characterized by varying degree of anthropogenic influences: from almost pristine conditions to highly regulated rivers, and were selected in four different climate zones to cover the full range of climatic conditions across Europe. To assess the projected changes the process-based eco-hydrological model SWIM was set up, calibrated and validated for the basins which was driven by the bias-corrected climate projections obtained from the CORDEX GCM-RCM coupled simulations, under the RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 global warming scenarios.

Our results show robust decreasing trends in water availability in the Mediterranean catchment, and increase in discharge during winter months accompanied by slight to moderate decrease in summer months for all other basins. This analysis was embedded within the European Case Study framework of the EU Project IMPRESSIONS: Impacts and risks from high-end scenarios: Strategies for innovative solutions.