Simulating future trends in hydrological regimes in Western Switzerland

Marianne Milano, Emmanuel Reynard, Nina Bosshard, Rolf Weingartner
2015 Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies  
Study region: This study focuses on a mountainous region experiencing urban sprawl and growing irrigation needs: the canton of Vaud (Switzerland). Study focus: Switzerland's description as Europe's water tower might evolve by the end of the century, as it should undergo significant hydro-climatic changes. Focusing on Western Switzerland is all the more important because a large part of the Swiss population lives in this area and because this region experienced water shortage episodes during the
more » ... episodes during the last decade. Climate change and its impacts on seasonal water resources availability and hydrological regimes were explored for the medium term (2050-2071). Flows were simulated based on a daily semi-distributed hydrological model. A calibration and corroboration procedure was performed over the 1984-2005 period. Future changes were derived from Swiss climate scenarios that rely on ten regional climate models. New hydrological insights for the region: By the 2060 horizon, the increase in temperature causes a higher ratio of liquid precipitation and a decrease in snow accumulation during winter. These variations give rise to earlier high flow peaks and more severe low flows. Hydrological regimes evolve and rivers become characterized by a pluvial regime. These seasonal hydro-climatic changes are of prior importance in an area where urbanization and irrigation keep increasing: the question arises on the capacity of water resources to meet future water demands.
doi:10.1016/j.ejrh.2015.10.010 fatcat:j6dol3moz5ctdex4ja6pdmyo2q