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  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Futter, M. N.; Erlandsson, M. A.; Butterfield, D.; Whitehead, P. G.; Oni, S. K.; Wade, A. J.;
    Project: EC | REFRESH (244121)

    Runoff generation processes and pathways vary widely between catchments. Credible simulations of solute and pollutant transport in surface waters are dependent on models which facilitate appropriate, catchment-specific representations of perceptual models of the runoff generation process. Here, we present a flexible, semi-distributed landscape-scale rainfall-runoff modelling toolkit suitable for simulating a broad range of user-specified perceptual models of runoff generation and stream flow occurring in different climatic regions and landscape types. PERSiST (the Precipitation, Evapotranspiration and Runoff Simulator for Solute Transport) is designed for simulating present-day hydrology; projecting possible future effects of climate or land use change on runoff and catchment water storage; and generating hydrologic inputs for the Integrated Catchments (INCA) family of models. PERSiST has limited data requirements and is calibrated using observed time series of precipitation, air temperature and runoff at one or more points in a river network. Here, we apply PERSiST to the river Thames in the UK and describe a Monte Carlo tool for model calibration, sensitivity and uncertainty analysis.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Walsum, P. E. V.; Supit, I.;
    Project: EC | GENESIS (226536)

    Hydrologic climate change modelling is hampered by climate-dependent model parameterizations. To reduce this dependency, we extended the regional hydrologic modelling framework SIMGRO to host a two-way coupling between the soil moisture model MetaSWAP and the crop growth simulation model WOFOST, accounting for ecohydrologic feedbacks in terms of radiation fraction that reaches the soil, crop coefficient, interception fraction of rainfall, interception storage capacity, and root zone depth. Except for the last, these feedbacks are dependent on the leaf area index (LAI). The influence of regional groundwater on crop growth is included via a coupling to MODFLOW. Two versions of the MetaSWAP-WOFOST coupling were set up: one with exogenous vegetation parameters, the "static" model, and one with endogenous crop growth simulation, the "dynamic" model. Parameterization of the static and dynamic models ensured that for the current climate the simulated long-term averages of actual evapotranspiration are the same for both models. Simulations were made for two climate scenarios and two crops: grass and potato. In the dynamic model, higher temperatures in a warm year under the current climate resulted in accelerated crop development, and in the case of potato a shorter growing season, thus partly avoiding the late summer heat. The static model has a higher potential transpiration; depending on the available soil moisture, this translates to a higher actual transpiration. This difference between static and dynamic models is enlarged by climate change in combination with higher CO2 concentrations. Including the dynamic crop simulation gives for potato (and other annual arable land crops) systematically higher effects on the predicted recharge change due to climate change. Crop yields from soils with poor water retention capacities strongly depend on capillary rise if moisture supply from other sources is limited. Thus, including a crop simulation model in an integrated hydrologic simulation provides a valuable addition for hydrologic modelling as well as for crop modelling.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Papadimitriou, Lamprini V.; Koutroulis, Aristeidis G.; Grillakis, Manolis G.; Tsanis, Ioannis K.;
    Project: EC | ECLISE (265240), EC | HELIX (603864)

    Global climate model (GCM) outputs feature systematic biases that render them unsuitable for direct use by impact models, especially for hydrological studies. To deal with this issue, many bias correction techniques have been developed to adjust the modelled variables against observations, focusing mainly on precipitation and temperature. However, most state-of-the-art hydrological models require more forcing variables, in addition to precipitation and temperature, such as radiation, humidity, air pressure, and wind speed. The biases in these additional variables can hinder hydrological simulations, but the effect of the bias of each variable is unexplored. Here we examine the effect of GCM biases on historical runoff simulations for each forcing variable individually, using the JULES land surface model set up at the global scale. Based on the quantified effect, we assess which variables should be included in bias correction procedures. To this end, a partial correction bias assessment experiment is conducted, to test the effect of the biases of six climate variables from a set of three GCMs. The effect of the bias of each climate variable individually is quantified by comparing the changes in simulated runoff that correspond to the bias of each tested variable. A methodology for the classification of the effect of biases in four effect categories (ECs), based on the magnitude and sensitivity of runoff changes, is developed and applied. Our results show that, while globally the largest changes in modelled runoff are caused by precipitation and temperature biases, there are regions where runoff is substantially affected by and/or more sensitive to radiation and humidity. Global maps of bias ECs reveal the regions mostly affected by the bias of each variable. Based on our findings, for global-scale applications, bias correction of radiation and humidity, in addition to that of precipitation and temperature, is advised. Finer spatial-scale information is also provided, to suggest bias correction of variables beyond precipitation and temperature for regional studies.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Catari, G.; Latron, J.; Gallart, F.;
    Project: EC | MIRAGE (211732)

    The diverse sources of uncertainty associated with the calculation of rainfall kinetic energy and rainfall erosivity, calculated from precipitation data, were investigated at a range of temporal and spatial scales in a mountainous river basin (504 km2) in the south-eastern Pyrenees. The sources of uncertainty analysed included both methodological and local sources of uncertainty and were (i) tipping-bucket rainfall gauge instrumental errors, (ii) the efficiency of the customary equation used to derive rainfall kinetic energy from intensity, (iii) the efficiency of the regressions obtained between daily precipitation and rainfall erosivity, (iv) the temporal variability of annual rainfall erosivity values, and the spatial variability of (v) annual rainfall erosivity values and (vi) long-term erosivity values. The differentiation between systematic (accuracy) and random (precision) errors was taken into account in diverse steps of the analysis. The results showed that the uncertainty associated with the calculation of rainfall kinetic energy from rainfall intensity at the event and station scales was as high as 30%, because of insufficient information on rainfall drop size distribution. This methodological limitation must be taken into account for experimental or modelling purposes when rainfall kinetic energy is derived solely from rainfall intensity data. For longer temporal scales, the relevance of this source of uncertainty remained high if low variability in the types of rain was supposed. Temporal variability of precipitation at wider spatial scales was the main source of uncertainty when rainfall erosivity was calculated on an annual basis, whereas the uncertainty associated with long-term erosivity was rather low and less important than the uncertainty associated with other model factors such as those in the RUSLE, when operationally used for long-term soil erosion modelling.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Etheridge, J. R.; Birgand, F.; Burchell II, M. R.; Lepistö, A.; Rankinen, K.; Granlund, K.;
    Project: NSF | Graduate Research Fellows... (0750733), EC | REFRESH (244121)

    The Integrated Catchment model for Nitrogen (INCA-N) is a semi-distributed, process based model that has been used to model the impacts of land use, climate, and land management changes on hydrology and nitrogen loading. An observed problem with the INCA-N model is reproducing low nitrate–nitrogen concentrations during the summer growing season in some catchments. In this study, the current equation used to simulate the rate of in-stream denitrification was replaced with an alternate equation that uses a mass transfer coefficient and the stream bottom area. The results of simulating in-stream denitrification using the two different methods were compared for a one year simulation period of the Yläneenjoki catchment in Finland. The alternate equation (Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency = 0.61) simulated concentrations during the periods of the growing season with the lowest flow that were closer to the observed concentrations than the current equation (Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency = 0.60), but the results were mixed during other portions of the year. The results of the calibration and validation of the model using the two equations show that the alternate equation will simulate lower nitrate–nitrogen concentrations during the growing season when compared to the current equation, but promote investigation into other errors in the model that may be causing inaccuracies in the modeled concentrations.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Kirkby, M. J.; Gallart, F.; Kjeldsen, T. R.; Irvine, B. J.; Froebrich, J.; Porto, A.; Girolamo, A.; the MIRAGE team;
    Project: EC | MIRAGE (211732)

    The paper uses a simple water balance model that partitions the precipitation between actual evapotranspiration, quick flow and delayed flow, and has sufficient complexity to capture the essence of climate and vegetation controls on this partitioning. Using this model, monthly flow duration curves have been constructed from climate data across Europe to address the relative frequency of ecologically critical low flow stages in semi-arid rivers, when flow commonly persists only in disconnected pools in the river bed. The hydrological model is based on a dynamic partitioning of precipitation to estimate water available for evapotranspiration and plant growth and for residual runoff. The duration curve for monthly flows has then been analysed to give an estimate of bankfull flow based on recurrence interval. Arguing from observed ratios of cross-sectional areas at flood and low flows, hydraulic geometry suggests that disconnected flow under "pool" conditions is approximately 0.1% of bankfull flow. Flow duration curves define a measure of bankfull discharge on the basis of frequency. The corresponding frequency for pools is then read from the duration curve, using this (0.1%) ratio to estimate pool discharge from bank full discharge. The flow duration curve then provides an estimate of the frequency of poorly connected pool conditions, corresponding to this discharge, that constrain survival of river-dwelling arthropods and fish. The methodology has here been applied across Europe at 15 km resolution, and the potential is demonstrated for applying the methodology under alternative climatic scenarios.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Caille, F.; Riera, J. L.; Rosell-Melé, A.;
    Project: EC | REFRESH (244121)

    Human activities have resulted in increased nutrient levels in many rivers all over Europe. Sustainable management of river basins demands an assessment of the causes and consequences of human alteration of nutrient flows, together with an evaluation of management options. In the context of an integrated and interdisciplinary environmental assessment (IEA) of nutrient flows, we present and discuss the application of the nutrient emission model MONERIS (MOdelling Nutrient Emissions into River Systems) to the Catalan river basin, La Tordera (north-east Spain), for the period 1996–2002. After a successful calibration and verification process (Nash-Sutcliffe efficiencies E=0.85 for phosphorus and E=0.86 for nitrogen), the application of the model MONERIS proved to be useful in estimating nutrient loads. Crucial for model calibration, in-stream retention was estimated to be about 50 % of nutrient emissions on an annual basis. Through this process, we identified the importance of point sources for phosphorus emissions (about 94% for 1996–2002), and diffuse sources, especially inputs via groundwater, for nitrogen emissions (about 31% for 1996–2002). Despite hurdles related to model structure, observed loads, and input data encountered during the modelling process, MONERIS provided a good representation of the major interannual and spatial patterns in nutrient emissions. An analysis of the model uncertainty and sensitivity to input data indicates that the model MONERIS, even in data-starved Mediterranean catchments, may be profitably used by water managers for evaluating quantitative nutrient emission scenarios for the purpose of managing river basins. As an example of scenario modelling, an analysis of the changes in nutrient emissions through two different future scenarios allowed the identification of a set of relevant measures to reduce nutrient loads.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Zuurbier, Koen Gerardus; Stuyfzand, Pieter Jan;
    Project: EC | DESSIN (619039), EC | SUBSOL (642228)

    Coastal aquifers and the deeper subsurface are increasingly exploited. The accompanying perforation of the subsurface for those purposes has increased the risk of short-circuiting of originally separated aquifers. This study shows how this short-circuiting negatively impacts the freshwater recovery efficiency (RE) during aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) in coastal aquifers. ASR was applied in a shallow saltwater aquifer overlying a deeper, confined saltwater aquifer, which was targeted for seasonal aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES). Although both aquifers were considered properly separated (i.e., a continuous clay layer prevented rapid groundwater flow between both aquifers), intrusion of deeper saltwater into the shallower aquifer quickly terminated the freshwater recovery. The presumable pathway was a nearby ATES borehole. This finding was supported by field measurements, hydrochemical analyses, and variable-density solute transport modeling (SEAWAT version 4; Langevin et al., 2007). The potentially rapid short-circuiting during storage and recovery can reduce the RE of ASR to null. When limited mixing with ambient groundwater is allowed, a linear RE decrease by short-circuiting with increasing distance from the ASR well within the radius of the injected ASR bubble was observed. Interception of deep short-circuiting water can mitigate the observed RE decrease, although complete compensation of the RE decrease will generally be unattainable. Brackish water upconing from the underlying aquitard towards the shallow recovery wells of the ASR system with multiple partially penetrating wells (MPPW-ASR) was observed. This leakage may lead to a lower recovery efficiency than based on current ASR performance estimations.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Delogu, E.; Boulet, G.; Olioso, A.; Coudert, B.; Chirouze, J.; Ceschia, E.; Dantec, V.; Marloie, O.; Chehbouni, G.; Lagouarde, J.-P.;
    Project: EC | SIRRIMED (245159)

    Evapotranspiration estimates can be derived from remote sensing data and ancillary, mostly meterorological, information. For this purpose, two types of methods are classically used: the first type estimates a potential evapotranspiration rate from vegetation indices, and adjusts this rate according to water availability derived from either a surface temperature index or a first guess obtained from a rough estimate of the water budget, while the second family of methods relies on the link between the surface temperature and the latent heat flux through the surface energy budget. The latter provides an instantaneous estimate at the time of satellite overpass. In order to compute daily evapotranspiration, one needs an extrapolation algorithm. Since no image is acquired during cloudy conditions, these methods can only be applied during clear sky days. In order to derive seasonal evapotranspiration, one needs an interpolation method. Two combined interpolation/extrapolation methods based on the self preservation of evaporative fraction and the stress factor are compared to reconstruct seasonal evapotranspiration from instantaneous measurements acquired in clear sky conditions. Those measurements are taken from instantaneous latent heat flux from 11 datasets in Southern France and Morocco. Results show that both methods have comparable performances with a clear advantage for the evaporative fraction for datasets with several water stress events. Both interpolation algorithms tend to underestimate evapotranspiration due to the energy limiting conditions that prevail during cloudy days. Taking into account the diurnal variations of the evaporative fraction according to an empirical relationship derived from a previous study improved the performance of the extrapolation algorithm and therefore the retrieval of the seasonal evapotranspiration for all but one datasets.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Spekkers, M. H.; Kok, M.; Clemens, F. H. L. R.; Veldhuis, J. A. E.;
    Project: EC | SMARTEST (244102)

    In this paper, a database of water-related insurance damage claims related to private properties and content was analysed. The aim was to investigate whether the probability of occurrence of rainfall-related damage was associated with the intensity of rainfall. Rainfall data were used for the period of 2003–2009 in the Netherlands based on a network of 33 automatic rain gauges operated by the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute. Insurance damage data were aggregated to areas within 10-km range of the rain gauges. Through a logistic regression model, high claim numbers were linked to maximum rainfall intensities, with rainfall intensity based on 10-min to 4-h time windows. Rainfall intensity proved to be a significant damage predictor; however, the explained variance, approximated by a pseudo-R2 statistic, was at most 34% for property damage and at most 30% for content damage. When directly comparing predicted and observed values, the model was able to predict 5–17% more cases correctly compared to a random prediction. No important differences were found between relations with property and content damage data. A considerable fraction of the variance is left unexplained, which emphasizes the need to study damage generating mechanisms and additional explanatory variables.

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