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Projections of future floods and hydrological droughts in Europe under a +2°C global warming

Abstract

We present an assessment of the impacts of a +2°C global warming on extreme floods and hydrological droughts (1 in 10 and 1 in 100 year events) in Europe using eleven bias-corrected climate model simulations from CORDEX Europe and three hydrological models. The results show quite contrasted results between northern and southern Europe. Flood magnitudes are expected to increase significantly south of 60oN, except for some regions (Bulgaria, Poland, south of Spain) where the results are not significant. The sign of these changes are particularly robust in large parts of Romania, Ukraine, Germany, France and North of Spain. North of this line, floods are projected to decrease in most of Finland, NW Russia and North of Sweden, with the exception of southern Sweden and some coastal areas in Norway where floods may increase. The results concerning extreme droughts are less robust, especially for drought duration where the spread of the results among the members is quite high in some areas. Anyway, drought magnitude and duration may increase in Spain, France, Italy, Greece, the Balkans, south of the UK and Ireland. Despite some remarkable differences among the hydrological models’ structure and calibration, the results are quite similar from one hydrological model to another. Finally, an analysis of floods and droughts together shows that the impact of a +2°C global warming will be most extreme for France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Albania. These results are particularly robust in southern France and northern Spain.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the FP7 project IMPACT2C and all the contributing members for funding this study and providing climate data. Moreover, we thank Goncalo Gomes from JRC for his help with observed discharges and Alessandra Bianchi for GIS support. We finally think three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.

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Correspondence to Philippe Roudier.

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Roudier, P., Andersson, J.C.M., Donnelly, C. et al. Projections of future floods and hydrological droughts in Europe under a +2°C global warming. Climatic Change 135, 341–355 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-015-1570-4

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Keywords

  • Return Period
  • Hydrological Model
  • Generalize Extreme Value
  • Generalize Extreme Value Distribution
  • Drought Duration