Climate change in the Western Bug river basin and the impact on future hydro-climatic conditions
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- Pavlik, D., Söhl, D., Pluntke, T. et al. Environ Earth Sci (2014) 72: 4787. doi:10.1007/s12665-014-3068-1
Within the IWRM research project IWAS, we generated regional climate projections via dynamic downscaling for the catchment area of the Western Bug river in the border area of Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine. Data sources used are WMO meteorological station data and global climate ERA40 reanalysis data for an evaluation run, as well as global simulations from the ECHAM5 model for a twentieth-century control run and for the IPCC emission scenarios A2 and B1. We evaluated the performance of the regional climate model CCLM on the basis of simulated 2m temperature and precipitation. Furthermore, we analyzed the hydro-climatic conditions of the past and their projected future changes in the catchment based on 2m temperature, precipitation, potential evaporation and climatic water balance. The latter is discussed as an indicator for potential water availability in the region. Our evaluation, like many other studies, attests that the CCLM performs well for 2m temperature. Precipitation is not modelled adequately for the Western Bug basin. Remarkably, the precipitation bias is five times higher in the ECHAM5-driven control run than in the ERA40-driven evaluation run. Despite all the uncertainties, the significance of the modelled changes clearly suggests robust model results for the last three decades of this century. Up to the end of the century, both scenarios A2 and B1 lead to highly significant warming for each month in the long-term mean, with highest warming rates in winter. Instead, precipitation does not change significantly in the long-term yearly mean, but the intra-annual distribution of monthly precipitation sums shifts, with an increase in winter and a strong decrease in summer. Combined, this leads to a changed climatic water balance with a stronger deficit in summer and a higher gain in winter. Particular in the south-eastern part, the summer deficit cannot be compensated within the annual cycle. This might have serious implications for many socio-economic sectors.