Impact of a climate change on the Rhone river catchment hydrology

Année de publication



Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 107 ACL 6-1 ACL 6-18 D16


Within the framework of the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX)/Rhone project, a system has been built to estimate the hydrological budget of the Rhone, one of the major European rivers (with a 86,500 km2 surface area for the French part of the catchment). The methodology is based on three models, one for each component of the hydrometeorological system: The atmospheric parameter analysis, the snow cover, the surface water and energy budget, and the underground water transfer and discharge estimation. This tool has been validated for 14 years (from 1981 to 1994) by comparing the daily river flows simulated by the models with measurements from 145 gauging stations. In this study, the results of the ARPEGE‐Climat general circulation model (GCM) have been used to estimate the climate of the Rhone catchment in 60 years. The perturbation of the air temperature and precipitation amount has been used to modify the actual set of meteorological parameters in order to simulate the hydrological budget of the Rhone river. Vegetation and soil structure are supposed to be identical to current values, which is a strong hypothesis. The river discharge and soil water resources under the climatic scenario are compared with the results of the actual simulation. Strong contrasts in the hydrological response of the catchment are noticeable, depending on the location of the subcatchments and the amount of precipitation. Snow cover is the most sensitive hydrological component to the air temperature increase, and the high mountainous river regimes are strongly modified. When considering the soil water content, it appears that the northern part of the domain stays quite wet, whereas drying is enhanced in the south. The uncertainties in the results are estimated by analyzing the model sensitivity to different simple climatic scenarios. In particular, the analysis brings into light the impact of the downscaling of the GCM results.

Type de publication
  • journal
Type de document
  • article
Classification - Inist-CNRS
    Classification - Scopus
    • 1 - Physical Sciences
    • 2 - Earth and Planetary Sciences
    • 3 - Palaeontology
    • 3 - Space and Planetary Science
    • 3 - Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
    • 3 - Atmospheric Science
    • 3 - Earth-Surface Processes
    • 3 - Geochemistry and Petrology
    • 1 - Life Sciences
    • 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences
    • 3 - Soil Science
    • 2 - Environmental Science
    • 3 - Water Science and Technology
    • 3 - Ecology
    • 3 - Aquatic Science
    • 3 - Forestry
    • 3 - Oceanography
    • 3 - Geophysics
    Classification - Science Metrix
    • 1 - natural sciences
    • 2 - earth & environmental sciences
    • 3 - meteorology & atmospheric sciences
    Classification - Clarivate Analytics (Subject Category)
    • 1 - science
    • 2 - geosciences, multidisciplinary
    Termes extraits

    precipitation; rhone; anomaly; climate change; catchment; etchevers; snowpack; scenario; durance; hydrological; rhone basin; rhone river; noilhan; present climate; temperature anomaly; runoff; precipitation anomaly; hydrology; habets; diff; isere; isba; saone; evapotranspiration; temperature increase; soil water content; climate scenario; future climate; actual climate; modeling; annual discharge; atmospheric warming; solid line; southern part; monthly discharges; northern part; surface runoff; evaporation; rhone river figure; snowpack evolution; actual evapotranspiration; snow depth; water resources; temperature increases; soil water index; french part; major role; vegetation; simulation; flash floods; time step; data sets; rhone discharge; meteorological parameters; precipitation amount; precipitation increase; climate anomaly; snow model; soil dryness; snow water equivalent; future climates; total runoff; river flows; alps; basin; river regimes; surface water; climate research unit; model sensitivity; mountainous areas; recherches agronomiques; wind speed; whole rhone catchment; water cycles; spatial scale; local complexity; maximum value; last century; medium elevations; snowy river regimes; period flash floods; seasonal precipitation anomaly; soil humidity; hydrological budget; stronger evaporation; relative increase; precipitation phase; finland april; actual values; hydrological response; macroscale hydrological model; whole year; daily discharges; future evolution; total precipitation; global circulation model; solid precipitation; precipitation increases; annual precipitation; high durance; evaporation processes; bare ground; river discharges; soil water content anomaly; sensitive hydrological component; northern alps; precipitation anomalies; hydrometeorological modeling; physical parameterizations; water budgets; global energy; others scenarios; whole basin; monthly snow water equivalent; hydrological model; temporal patterns; high durance catchment; spring flash floods; climatic anomalies; intrinsic characteristics; operational avalanche forecasting; snow parametrization; climate model; water budget; iahs publ; impact studies; concerted action initiative workshop report; meteorological; climate

    Entité nommée
    Entité nommée - Emplacement géographique
    • Switzerland
    • Canada
    • Europe
    • Japan
    • France
    • Slovakia
    Entité nommée - Organisme
    • Noilhan Meteo-France/CNRM, Toulouse, France
    • National Program for Hydrological Research
    • Etchevers Meteo-France/CNRM/CEN, Grenoble, France
    • Â CO
    • American Geophysical Union
    • UKMO
    • French Institute for Agronomy Research
    • UK Meteorological Office
    Entité nommée - Personne
    Aaron Boone; European; Michel Deque; Hadley Centre; Pascal Marquet; Sutcliffe; Eric Martin
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