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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-381
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-381
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 13 Aug 2019

Submitted as: research article | 13 Aug 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Mediterranean Specific Climate Classification and Future Evolution Under RCP Scenarios

Antoine Allam1,2, Roger Moussa2, Wajdi Najem1, and Claude Bocquillon1 Antoine Allam et al.
  • 1CREEN, Université Saint-Joseph, Beirut, Lebanon
  • 2LISAH, Univ. Montpellier, INRA, IRD, SupAgro, Montpellier, France

Abstract. The Mediterranean is one of the most sensitive regions to anthropogenic and climatic changes mostly affecting its water resources and related practices. With multiple studies raising serious concerns of climate shifts and aridity expansion in the region, this one aims to establish a new high resolution classification for hydrology purposes based on Mediterranean specific climate indices. This classification is useful in following up hydrological (water resources management, floods, droughts, etc.), and ecohydrological applications such as Mediterranean agriculture like olive cultivation and other environmental practices. The proposed approach includes the use of classic climatic indices and the definition of new climatic indices mainly precipitation seasonality index Is or evapotranspiration threshold SPET both in line with river flow regimes, a Principal Component Analysis to reduce the number of indices, K-Means classification to distribute them into classes and finally the construction of a decision tree based on the distances to classes kernels to reproduce the classification without having to repeat the whole process. The classification was set and validated by WorldClim-2 at 1-km high resolution gridded data for the 1970–2000 baseline period and 144 stations data over 30 to 120 years, both at monthly time steps. Climatic classes coincided with a geographical distribution in the Mediterranean ranging from the most seasonal and dry class in the south to the least seasonal and most humid class in the North, showing up the climatic continuity from one place to another and enhancing the visibility of change trends. The MED-CORDEX ALADIN historical and projected data at 12-km resolution simulated under RCP 4.5 and 8.5 scenarios for the 2070–2100 period served to assess the climate change impact on this classification by superimposing the projected changes on the baseline high resolution classification. Both RCP scenarios showed a 7 % to 9 % increase of the average seasonality index Is and 3 % to 20 % increase of the average aridity index IArid for the least seasonal classes. These classes located to the north are slowly evolving towards moderate coastal classes which might affect hydrologic regimes due to shorter humid seasons and earlier snowmelts. This kind of classification might be reproduced at the global scale, using same or other climatic indices specific for each region highlighting their physiographic characteristics and hydrological response.

Antoine Allam et al.
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Short summary
This Mediterranean climatic classification is useful in following up water resources management and ecohydrological applications. Climatic classes ranged from the most seasonal and dry in the South to the least seasonal and most humid in the North, showing up the climatic continuity and change trends visibility. The climate change impact simulated under RCP scenarios showed an increase of the average seasonality and aridity, with north classes slowly evolving towards moderate southern classes.
This Mediterranean climatic classification is useful in following up water resources management...
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