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Budyko framework based analysis of the effect of climate change on watershed characteristics and their impact on discharge over Europe
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  • Julie Collignan,
  • Jan Polcher,
  • Sophie Bastin,
  • Pere Quintana-Seguí
Julie Collignan
Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique/IPSL - Ecole Polytechnique/CNRS

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Jan Polcher
Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (CNRS)/IPSL
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Sophie Bastin
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Pere Quintana-Seguí
Observatori de l'Ebre (Universitat Ramon Llull - CSIC)
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In a context of climate change, the stakes surrounding water availability are getting higher. Decomposing and quantifying the effects of climate on discharge allows to better understand their impact on water resources. We propose a methodology to separate the effect of change in annual mean of climate variables from the effect of intra-annual distribution of precipitations. It combines the Budyko framework with outputs from a Land Surface Model (LSM). The LSM is used to reproduces the behavior of 2134 reconstructed watersheds over Europe between 1902 and 2010, with climate inputs as the only source of change. We fit to the LSM outputs a one parameter approximation to the Budyko framework. It accounts for the evolution of annual mean in precipitation (P) and potential evapotranspiration (PET). We introduce a time-varying parameter in the equation which represents the effect of long-term variations in the intra-annual distribution of P and PET. To better assess the effects of changes in annual means or in intra-annual distribution of P, we construct synthetic forcings fixing one or the other. The results over Europe show that the changes in discharge due to climate are dominated by the trends in the annual averages of P. The second main climate driver is PET, except over the Mediterranean area where changes in intra-annual variations of P have a higher impact on discharge than trends in PET. Therefore the effects of changes in intra-annual distribution of climate variables are not to be neglected when looking at changes in annual discharge.