Simulation of the hydrodynamic behaviour of a Mediterranean reservoir under different climate change and management scenarios

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Jordi Prats *
Marie-José Salençon
Magali Gant
Pierre-Alain Danis
(*) Corresponding Author:
Jordi Prats | jordi.prats@irstea.fr

Abstract

One of the most important current issues in the management of lakes and reservoirs is the prediction of global climate change effects to determine appropriate mitigation and adaptation actions. In this paper we analyse whether management actions can limit the effects of climate change on water temperatures in a reservoir. For this, we used the model EOLE to simulate the hydrodynamic and thermal behaviour of the reservoir of Bimont (Provence region, France) in the medium term (2036-2065) and in the long term (2066-2095) using regionalised projections by the model CNRM-CERFACS-CNRM-CM5 under the emission scenarios RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5. Water temperature projections were compared to simulations for the reference period 1993-2013, the longest period for which we had year-long data for both hydrology and meteorology. We calibrated the model using profile measurements for the period 2010-2011 and we carried an extensive validation and assessment of model performance. In fact, we validated the model using profile measurements for 2012-2014, obtaining a root mean square error of 1.08°C and mean bias of -0.11°C, and we assured the consistency of model simulations in the long term by comparing simulated surface temperature to satellite measurements for 1999-2013. We assessed the effect using synthetic input data instead of measured input data by comparing simulations made using both kinds of data for the reference period. Using synthetic data resulted in slightly lower (-0.3°C) average and maximum epilimnion temperatures, a somewhat deeper thermocline, and slightly higher evaporation (+7%). To investigate the effect of different management strategies, we considered three management scenarios: i) bottom outlet and present water level; ii) bottom outlet and elevated water level; and iii) surface outlet and elevated water level. According to the simulations, the reservoir of Bimont will have a low rate of warming of the epilimnion of 0.009-0.024 °C·yr-1, but a rapid hypolimnion warming of 0.013-0.028°C·yr-1. The increase in surface temperatures will augment evaporation. However, the length of the stratification period and the thermocline depth are not expected to change. Elevating the water level and using a surface outlet in the reservoir of Bimont, would result in reductions of surface temperature of a similar magnitude as the expected increase because of climate change.


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