Pôle Alpin Risques Naturels (PARN) Alpes–Climat–Risques Avec le soutien de la Région Rhône-Alpes (2007-2014)

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Réf. Zampieri & al. 2015 - A

Référence bibliographique
ZAMPIERI M., SCOCCIMARRO E., GUALDI S., NAVARRA A., (2015) Observerd shift towards earlier spring discharge in the main Alpine rivers. Science of the Total Environment 503-505 pp. 222-223.

Abstract : In this study, we analyse the observed long-term discharge time-series of the Rhine, the Danube, the Rhone and the Po rivers. These rivers are characterised by different seasonal cycles reflecting the diverse climates and morphologies of the Alpine basins. However, despite the intensive and varied water management adopted in the four basins, we found common features in the trend and low-frequency variability of the spring discharge timings. All the discharge time-series display a tendency towards earlier spring peaks of more than two weeks per century. These results can be explained in terms of snowmelt, total precipitation (i.e. the sum of snowfall and rainfall) and rainfall variability. The relative importance of these factors might be different in each basin. However, we show that the change of seasonality of total precipitation plays a major role in the earlier spring runoff over most of the Alps.

 Mountain hydrology, Spring, Snowmelt, River discharge, Precipitation seasonality, Water management

Organismes / Contact

Authors /Auteurs :

  • ZAMPIERI M., Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici (CMCC), V.le A. Moro 44, 40127 Bologna, Italy
  • SCOCCIMARRO E., Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici (CMCC), V.le A. Moro 44, 40127 Bologna, Italy & Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Bologna, Italy
  • GUALDI S., Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici (CMCC), V.le A. Moro 44, 40127 Bologna, Italy & Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Bologna, Italy
  • NAVARRA A., Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici (CMCC), V.le A. Moro 44, 40127 Bologna, Italy & Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), Bologna, Italy

(1) - Paramètre(s) atmosphérique(s) modifié(s)
(2) - Elément(s) du milieu impacté(s)
(3) - Type(s) d'aléa impacté(s)
(3) - Sous-type(s) d'aléa

Pays / Zone
Massif / Secteur
Site(s) d'étude
Période(s) d'observation

(1) - Modifications des paramètres atmosphériques



Informations complémentaires (données utilisées, méthode, scénarios, etc.)

(2) - Effets du changement climatique sur le milieu naturel
 We found a consistent earlier spring discharge of more than two weeks per century in the basins located north of the Alps (Rhine and Danube), and more than three weeks per century in the basins located to the south (Rhone and Po).The low-frequency (decadal) fluctuations of spring discharge timings can be partly explained by changes in the snowmelt timings, especially in the Rhine and Po basins, and partly by changes in the liquid precipitation ratio in all basins except the Rhone and the Po.We detected a recent shift towards a pluvial-torrential regime with respect to the snowmelt-dominated regime that has characterised the southern basins since the 1970s and the northern basins since the 1980s. These changes can amplify the flood risk (Eckhardt and Ulbrich, 2003; Dobler et al., 2012) and partially explain the earlier discharges that we found in the 1960s. Finally, we found consistent changes in some aspects of the precipitation seasonality that probably drive much of the long-term trend and the low-frequency fluctuations of spring discharge timings. Interestingly, our analysis of the difference between the spring and winter precipitation improves the consistency of the results when different independent datasets are compared.
Nous avons mis en évidence une apparition plus rapide de la décharge printanière de plus de 2 semaines (par siècle) pour les bassins localisés dans le nord des Alpes (Rhin & Danube), et de plus de 3 semaines (par siècle) pour les bassins situés dans le sud (Rhônes et Po). Les basses fréquences des fluctuations dans l’apparition des décharge printanières peuvent être en partie expliquées par les changements de temporalité de la fonte des neiges, et ce, particulièrement dans les bassins du Rhin et du Po. Elles peuvent également être en partie expliquées par la transformation des ratios de précipitations liquides dans tous les bassins, à l’exception de ceux du Po et du Rhône. Nous avons mis en évidence un récent changement du régime pluvio-torrential par rapport au régime de fonte des neiges dominant, qui a caractérisé les bassins du sud depuis 1970 et ceux du nord depuis 1980. Ces changements peuvent être à l’origine d’une amplification du risque d’inondation, et expliquer en partie l’apparition plus rapide des décharges printanières que nous avons mis en évidence à partir de 1960. Enfin, nous avons pu observer des changements importants sur certains aspects des précipitations saisonnières, probablement à l’origine de l’évolution des tendances à long terme et de la modification des fluctuations à basse fréquence de la temporalité des décharges printanières.

Sensibilité du milieu à des paramètres climatiques
Informations complémentaires (données utilisées, méthode, scénarios, etc.)


(3) - Effets du changement climatique sur l'aléa

Paramètre de l'aléa
Sensibilité du paramètres de l'aléa à des paramètres climatiques
Informations complémentaires (données utilisées, méthode, scénarios, etc.)

(4) - Remarques générales

(5) - Syntèses et préconisations

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