Advertisement

Global warming and the summertime evapotranspiration regime of the Alpine region

  • Pierluigi CalancaEmail author
  • Andreas Roesch
  • Karsten Jasper
  • Martin Wild

Abstract

Changes of the summer evapotranspiration regime under increased levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases are discussed for three Alpine river basins on the basis of a new set of simulations carried out with a high-resolution hydrological model. The climate change signal was inferred from the output of two simulations with a state-of-the-art global climate model (GCM), a reference run valid for 1961–1990 and a time-slice simulation valid for 2071–2100 under forcing from the A2 IPCC emission scenario. In this particular GCM experiment and with respect to the Alpine region summer temperature was found to increase by 3 to 4°C, whereas precipitation was found to decrease by 10 to 20%. Global radiation and water vapor pressure deficit were found to increase by about 5% and 2 hPa, respectively. On this background, an overall increase of potential evapotranspiration of about 20% relative to the baseline was predicted by the hydrological model, with important variations between but also within individual basins. The results of the hydrological simulations also revealed a reduction in the evapotranspiration efficiency that depends on altitude. Accordingly, actual evapotranspiration was found to increase at high altitudes and to the south of the Alps, but to decrease in low elevation areas of the northern forelands and in the inner-Alpine domain. Such a differentiation does not appear in the GCM scenario, which predicts an overall increase in evapotranspiration over the Alps. This underlines the importance of detailed simulations for the quantitative assessment of the regional impact of climate change on the hydrological cycle.

Keywords

Potential Evapotranspiration Global Climate Model Global Radiation Alpine Region Actual Evapotranspiration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Arnell N (1999) The effects of climate change on the hydrological regimes in Europe. Global Environ Change 9:5–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Behringer J, Buerki R, Fuhrer J (2000) Participatory integrated assessment of adaptation to climate change in Alpine tourism and mountain agriculture. Integr Assess 1:331–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beniston M (2003) Climatic change in mountain regions: A review of possible impacts. Climatic Change 59:5–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beniston M, Keller F, Koffi B, Goyette S (2003) Estimates of snow accumulation and volume in the Swiss Alps under changing climatic conditions. Theor Appl Clim 76:125–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Beven KJ (2001) Rainfall-runoff modelling. The Primer. John Wiley and Sons, Chichester, p 360Google Scholar
  6. Brutsaert W, Parlange MB (1998) Hydrologic cycle explains the evaporation paradox. Nature 396:30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bugmann H (2003) Predicting the ecosystems effects of climate change. In: Canham CD, Cole JJ, Lauenroth WK (eds) Models in ecosystem science, Princeton University Press, Princeton, pp 385–409Google Scholar
  8. Calanca P (2004) Interannual variability of summer mean soil moisture conditions in Switzerland during the 20th century: A look using a stochastic soil moisture model. Water Resourc Res 40:W12502, doi:10.1029/2004WR003254Google Scholar
  9. Carsel RF, Parrish RS (1988) Developing joint probability distributions of soil water retention characteristics. Water Resources Res 24(5):755–769CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Doorenbos J, Kassam AH (1979) Yield Response to Water, FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper 33, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, p 193.Google Scholar
  11. Eagleson PS (2002) Ecohydrology. Darwinian expression of vegetation form and function. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 443Google Scholar
  12. Feichter J, Roeckner E, Lohmann U, Liepert BG (2004) Nonlinear aspects of the climate response to greenhouse gas and aerosol forcing. J. Climate 17:2384–2398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fuhrer J, Beniston M, Fischlin A, Frei Ch, Goyette S, Jasper K, Pfister Ch (2006) Climate risks and their impact on agriculture and forests in Switzerland. Clim Change DOI: 10.1007/s10584-006-9106-6 (this issue).Google Scholar
  14. Golubev VS, Lawrimore JH, Groisman PY, Speranskaya NA, Zhuravin SA, Menne MJ, Peterson TC, Malone RW (2001) Evaporation changes over the contiguous United States and the former USSR: Areassessment. Geophys Res Lett 28:2665–2668CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gurtz J, Baltensweiler A, Lang H (1999) Spatially distributed hydrotope-based modelling of evapotranspiration and runoff in mountainous basins. Hydrol Process 13:2751–2768CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gyalistras D, Schär C, Davies HC, Wanner H (1998) Future Alpine climate. In: Cebon P, Dahinden U, Davies HC, Imboden D, Jäger CG (eds) Views from the Alps: Regional perspectives on climate change. MIT Press, Boston, pp 171–223Google Scholar
  17. Houghton JT, Ding Y, Griggs DJ, Noguer M, van der Linden PJ, Dai X, Maskell K, Johnson CA (eds) (2001) Climate Change 2001, The Scientific Basis, Contribution of Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 881.Google Scholar
  18. Jasper K, Calanca P, Gyalistras D, Fuhrer J (2004) Differential impacts of climate change on the hydrology of two Alpine river basins. Clim Res 26:113–129Google Scholar
  19. Jasper K, Calanca P, Fuhrer J: (2006) Changes in summertime soil water patterns in complex terrain due to climatic change. J Hydrology (in press)Google Scholar
  20. Körner C (2004) Alpine plant life, 2nd edn. Springer, Berlin, and 4 colour plates, p 344Google Scholar
  21. Liepert BG, Feichter J, Lohmann U, Roeckner E (2004) Can aerosols spin down the water cycle in a warmer and moister world? Geophys Res Lett 31:L06207, doi:10.1029/2003GL019060CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Marty C, Philipona R, Fröhlich C, Ohmura A (2002) Altitude dependence of surface radiation fluxes and cloud forcing in the Alps: Results from the Alpine surface radiation budget network. Theor Appl Climatol 72:137–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Menzel L, Lang H, Rohmann M (1998) Mean Annual Evapotranspiration 1973–1992, Hydrological Atlas of Switzerland, Plate 4.1, Federal Office of Topography, BernGoogle Scholar
  24. Monteith JL (1981) Climatic variation and the growth of crops. Quart J Roy Meteor Soc 107:749–774CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Monteith JL, Unsworth MH (1990) Principles of environmental physics, 2nd edn. Edward Arnold, London, p 291Google Scholar
  26. Nakicenovic N, Swart R (eds) (2000) Emission Scenarios. Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 570Google Scholar
  27. Ohmura A, Wild M (2002) Is the hydrological cycle accelerating? Science 298:1345–1346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rayner NA, Parker DE, Horton EB, Folland CK, Alexander LV, Rowell DP, Kent EC, Kaplan A (2003) Global analyses of sea surface temperature, sea ice, and night marine air temperature since the late nineteenth century. J Geophys Res 108(D14):4407, doi:10.1029/2002JD002670CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Riedo M, Gyalistras D, Fuhrer J (2000) Net primary production and carbon stocks in differently managed grasslands: Simulation of site-specific sensitivity to an increase in atmospheric CO2 and to climate change. Ecol Model 134:207–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Riedo M, Gyalistras D, Fuhrer J (2001) Pasture response to elevated temperature and doubled CO2 concentration: Assessing the spatial pattern across an alpine landscape. Clim Res. 17:19–31Google Scholar
  31. Roderick ML, Farquhar GD (2002) The cause of decreased pan evaporation over the past 50 years. Science 298:1410–1411Google Scholar
  32. Roeckner E, Bengtsson L, Feichter J, Lelieveld J, Rodhe H (1999) Transient climate change simulations with a coupled atmosphere-ocean GCM including the tropospheric sulfur cycle. J Clim 12:3004–3032CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Roeckner E, Bäuml G, Bonaventura L, Brokopf R, Esch M, Giorgetta M, Hagemann S, Kirchner I, Kornblueh L, Manzini E, Rhodin A, Schlese U, Schulzweida U, Tompkins A (2003) The Atmospheric General Circulation Model ECHAM5. Part I: Model Description. Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Report No. 349, Hamburg, p 127Google Scholar
  34. Roeckner E, Brokopf R, Esch M, Giorgetta M, Hagemann S, Kornblueh, L, Manzini E, Schlese U, Schulzweida U (2004) The Atmospheric General Circulation Model ECHAM. Part II: Sensitivity of Simulated Climate to Horizontal and Vertical Resolution. Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Report No. 354, Hamburg, p 56Google Scholar
  35. Schär C, Vidale DL, Lüthi D, Frei C, Häberli C, Liniger MA, Appeazeller C (2004) The role of increasing temperature variability in European summer heatwaves. Nature 427:332–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Schulla J (1997) Hydrologische modellierung von Flussgebieten zur Abschätzung der Folgen von Klimaänderungen, Zürcher Geographische Schriften, vol 69. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, p 161Google Scholar
  37. Schulla J, Jasper K (2000) WaSiM-ETH: Model Description, Internal Report, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, p 166Google Scholar
  38. Schwarb M, Frei C, Schär C, Daly C (2001a) Mean Annual Precipitation Throughout the European Alps 1971–1990, Hydrological Atlas of Switzerland, Plate 2.6, Federal Office of Topography, BernGoogle Scholar
  39. Schwarb M, Frei C, Schär C, Daly C (2001b) Mean Seasonal Precipitation Throughout the European Alps 1971–1990, Hydrological Atlas of Switzerland, Plate 2.7, Federal Office of Topography, BernGoogle Scholar
  40. Soil Conservation Service (1975) Soil taxonomy: A basic system of soil classification for making and interpreting soil surveys. Agricultural Handbook no. 436, U.S. Department of AgricultureGoogle Scholar
  41. Swiss Federal Statistical Office (1998) Arealstatistik 1992/1997. Neuchâtel, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar
  42. Swiss Federal Statistical Office (2000) Digital map of the soil aptitudes. Neuchâtel, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar
  43. Taylor HM, Jordan WR, Sinclair TR (eds) (1983) Limitations to efficient water use in crop production. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, Madison, Wisconsin, p 538Google Scholar
  44. Thornley JHM, Johnson IR (1990) Plant and crop modelling. Clarendon Press, Oxford, p 669Google Scholar
  45. Van Genuchten MT (1980) A closed-form equation for predicting the hydraulic conductivity of unsaturated soils. Soil Sci Soc Am J 44:892–898CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wild M, Dümenil L, Schulz JP (1996) Regional climate simulation with a high resolution GCM: Surface hydrology. Climate Dynamics 12:755–774CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wild M, Ohmura A, Cubasch U (1997) GCM simulated surface energy fluxes in climate change experiments. J Climate 10:3093–3110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wild M, Ohmura A, Gilgen H (2004) On the consistency of trends in radiation and temperature records and implications for the global hydrological cycle. Geophys Res Lett 31:L11201, doi:10.1029/2003GL019188Google Scholar
  49. Z’graggen L (2001) Strahlungsbilanz der Schweiz, Doctor of Natural Sciences Thesis Dissertation No. 14158, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, p 196Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pierluigi Calanca
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andreas Roesch
    • 2
  • Karsten Jasper
    • 1
  • Martin Wild
    • 2
  1. 1.Agroscope FAL ReckenholzSwiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and AgricultureZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute for Atmospheric and Climate ScienceSwiss Federal Institute of TechnologyZürichSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations