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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Coevolution of Hydrological Cycle Components under Climate Change: The Case of the Garonne River in France

Grusson, Youen; Anctil, Francois; Sauvage, Sabine; Perez, Jose Miguel Sanchez


Climate change is suspected to impact water circulation within the hydrological cycle at catchment scale. A SWAT model approach to assess the evolution of the many hydrological components of the Garonne catchment (Southern France) is deployed in this study. Performance over the calibration period (2000-2010) are satisfactory, with Nash-Sutcliffe ranging from 0.55 to 0.94 or R-2 from 0.86 to 0.98. Similar performance values are obtained in validation (1962-2000). Water cycle is first analyzed based on past observed climatic data (1962-2010) to understand its variations and geographical spread. Comparison is then conducted against the different trends obtained from a climate ensemble over 2010-2050. Results show a strong impact on green water, such as a reduction of the soil water content (SWC) and a substantial increase in evapotranspiration (ET) in winter. In summer, however, some part of the watershed faces lower ET fluxes because of a lack of SWC to answer the evapotranspiratory demand, highlighting possible future deficits of green water stocks. Blue water fluxes are found significantly decreasing during summer, when in winter, discharge in the higher part of the watershed is found increasing because of a lower snow stock associated to an increase of liquid precipitation, benefiting surface runoff.


water cycle; climate change; SWAT modelling; coevolution of water resources; blue and green water

Published in

2018, Volume: 10, number: 12, article number: 1870
Publisher: MDPI

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG6 Clean water and sanitation

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Climate Research
    Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources

    Publication Identifiers


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