06 Dec 2021
06 Dec 2021
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Declining water resources in response to global warming and changes in atmospheric circulation patterns over southern Mediterranean France

Camille Labrousse1, Wolfgang Ludwig1, Sébastien Pinel1, Mahrez Sadaoui1, Andrea Toreti2, and Guillaume Lacquement3 Camille Labrousse et al.
  • 1Centre de Formation et de Recherche sur les Environnements Méditerranéens, Université de Perpignan Via Domitia, CNRS, UMR 5110, 52 Avenue Paul Alduy, 66860 Perpignan Cedex, France
  • 2European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Via E.Fermi, 2749, 21027 Ispra, Italy
  • 3Acteurs, Ressources, Territoires dans le Développement, Université de Perpignan Via Domitia, UMR 5281, 52 Avenue Paul Alduy, F-66860 Perpignan Cedex, France

Abstract. Warming trends are responsible for an observed decrease of water discharge in Southern France (northwestern Mediterranean). Ongoing climate change and the likely increase of water demand threaten the availability of water resources over the coming decades. Drought indices like the Reconnaissance Drought Index (RDI) are increasingly used in climate characterization studies, but little is known about the relationships between these indices, water resources and the overall atmospheric circulation patterns. In this study, we investigate the relationships between the RDI drought index, water discharge and four atmospheric teleconnection patterns (TPs) for six coastal river basins in southern France, both for the historical period of the last 60 years and for a worst-case climatic scenario (RCP 8.5) reaching the year 2100. We combine Global and Regional Climate Model (CGM and RCM, respectively) outputs with a set of observed climatic and hydrological data in order to investigate the past relationships between RDI, water discharge and TPs and to project their potential evolutions in space and time. Results indicate that annual water discharge can be reduced by −49/−88 % by the end of the century under the extreme climate scenario conditions. Due to unequal links with TPs, the hydro-climatic evolution is unevenly distributed within the study area. Indeed a clustering analysis performed with the RDI time series detects two major climate clusters, separating the eastern and western part of the study region. The former indicates stronger relationships with the Atlantic TPs (e.g. the NAO and the Scand patterns) whereas the latter is more closely related to the Mediterranean TPs (MO and WeMO). The future climate simulations predict an antagonistic evolution in both clusters which are likely driven by decreasing trends of Scand and WeMO. The former provokes a general tendency of lower P in both clusters during spring, summer and autumn, whereas the latter might partly compensate this evolution in the eastern cluster during autumn and winter. However, compared to observations, representation of the Mediterranean TPs WeMO and MO in the considered climate models is less satisfactory compared to the Atlantic TPs NAO and Scand, and further improvement of the model simulations therefore requires better representations of the Mediterranean TPs.

Camille Labrousse et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-548', Anonymous Referee #1, 14 Jan 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Camille Labrousse, 14 Feb 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2021-548', Anonymous Referee #2, 18 Feb 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Camille Labrousse, 01 Mar 2022

Camille Labrousse et al.

Camille Labrousse et al.


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Short summary
The aim of this work is to analyse the possible evolution of water resources and its relationship with climate in the South of France in the coming decades. The study area consists of 6 coastal catchment areas located in the northwestern Mediterranean. We analyse the relationships between climatic parameters (precipitation, temperature and a drought index), water resources and atmospheric circulation over the last decades and study their evolution for the end of the century.