30 Nov 2021
30 Nov 2021
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Disentangling the scarcity of near-natural Iberian hydrological resources since 1980s: a multivariate-driven approach

Amar Halifa-Marín1, Miguel Ángel Torres-Vázquez1, Enrique Pravia-Sarabia1, Marc Lemus-Cánovas2, Juan Pedro Montávez1, and Pedro Jiménez-Guerrero1 Amar Halifa-Marín et al.
  • 1Regional Atmospheric Modelling (MAR) Group, Regional Campus of International Excellence Campus Mare Nostrum (CEIR), University of Murcia, 30100 Murcia, Spain
  • 2Climatology Group, Department of Geography, University of Barcelona, 08001 Barcelona, Spain

Abstract. A significant abrupt decrease of Winter Precipitation (WP) has been noticed in the Iberian Peninsula since the 1980s related to atmospheric drivers. This contribution assesses the long-term variability of water resources based on a multivariate-driven approach. For this purpose, the novel dataset of Near Natural Water Inflows to Reservoirs of Spain (NENWIRES) was created. Results confirm that Winter Water Inflows (WWI) have been modulated by the sudden decline in WP. These drastic reductions of WP/WWI were mainly controlled by the enhancement of the positive phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAOi+). Nonetheless, our results also highlight the anthropogenic/physical causes contributing to the 1980s shift in the hydroclimate series. The rise of temperature, the cropland abandonment and forest extension provoked evapotranspiration gains and run-off weakening. NENWIRES most humid catchments registered the decrease of WWI promoted by NAOi+ persistence/frequency, while the land greening-up and ET rises explain the WWI losses in the Iberian semiarid environments. This contribution sheds some light on the recent debate about magnitude/drivers of streamflow declining over southern Europe. Therefore, it might help water planning with the goal of mitigating the climate change impacts affecting the water cycle.

Amar Halifa-Marín et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Interesting work, but some more clarification and quantification needed', Adriaan J. (Ryan) Teuling, 12 Feb 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Amar Halifa Marín, 14 Mar 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2021-565', Anonymous Referee #2, 20 Feb 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Amar Halifa Marín, 14 Mar 2022

Amar Halifa-Marín et al.

Data sets

Spanish catchments boundaries dataset Spanish Ministry of Environment (Ministerio para la Transición Ecológica y el Reto Demográfico, MITECO)

HILDA: HIstoric Land Dynamics Assessment dataset Wageningen University and Research (WUR)

The North Atlantic Oscillation Index National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis 1 climate data Physical Sciences Laboratory (PSL), NOAA

Mid-resolution permeability of soils dataset Spanish Geological Survey (Instituto Geológico y Minero Español, IGME)

Observational monthly water inputs series Spanish Hydrological Repository (Centro de Experimentación de Obras Públicas, CEDEX)

Precipitation/Temperature high-resolution gridded dataset Spanish Agency of Meteorology (Agencia Española de Meteorología, AEMET)

Amar Halifa-Marín et al.


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Short summary
The near-natural Iberian water resources have suddenly decreased since the 1980s. These declines were promoted by the weakening (enhancement) of wintertime precipitation (NAO index) in the most humid areas, whereas the extension of afforestation processes (greening-up) played a crucial role in the semiarid areas. The future water management might require greater knowledge of North Atlantic climate variability and the afforestation control/reverse in the semiarid catchments.