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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 22, issue 1 | Copyright
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 673-687, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 25 Jan 2018

Research article | 25 Jan 2018

Evaluation of uncertainties in mean and extreme precipitation under climate change for northwestern Mediterranean watersheds from high-resolution Med and Euro-CORDEX ensembles

Antoine Colmet-Daage1,2,3, Emilia Sanchez-Gomez1, Sophie Ricci1, Cécile Llovel2, Valérie Borrell Estupina3, Pere Quintana-Seguí4, Maria Carmen Llasat5, and Eric Servat6 Antoine Colmet-Daage et al.
  • 1CECI, CERFACS – CNRS TOULOUSE, Toulouse, France
  • 2WSP France, Toulouse, France
  • 3Hydrosciences Montpellier, Univ. Montpellier, Montpellier, France
  • 4Observatori de l'Ebre Fundació, Tarragona, Spain
  • 5Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  • 6Institut Montpelliérain de l'Eau et de l'Environnement – IRD, Montpellier, France

Abstract. The climate change impact on mean and extreme precipitation events in the northern Mediterranean region is assessed using high-resolution EuroCORDEX and MedCORDEX simulations. The focus is made on three regions, Lez and Aude located in France, and Muga located in northeastern Spain, and eight pairs of global and regional climate models are analyzed with respect to the SAFRAN product. First the model skills are evaluated in terms of bias for the precipitation annual cycle over historical period. Then future changes in extreme precipitation, under two emission scenarios, are estimated through the computation of past/future change coefficients of quantile-ranked model precipitation outputs. Over the 1981–2010 period, the cumulative precipitation is overestimated for most models over the mountainous regions and underestimated over the coastal regions in autumn and higher-order quantile. The ensemble mean and the spread for future period remain unchanged under RCP4.5 scenario and decrease under RCP8.5 scenario. Extreme precipitation events are intensified over the three catchments with a smaller ensemble spread under RCP8.5 revealing more evident changes, especially in the later part of the 21st century.

Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Here, the first assessment of future changes in extreme precipitation in small Mediterranean watersheds is done through three watersheds frequently subjected to flash floods. Collaboration between Spanish and French laboratories enabled us to conclude that the intensity of high precipitation will increase at the end of the century. A high degree of confidence results from the multi-model approach used here with eight regional climate models (RCMs) developed in the Med and Euro-CORDEX project.
Here, the first assessment of future changes in extreme precipitation in small Mediterranean...