Articles | Volume 11, issue 10
Research article
24 Oct 2011
Research article |  | 24 Oct 2011

Impact of the use of a CO2 responsive land surface model in simulating the effect of climate change on the hydrology of French Mediterranean basins

S. Queguiner, E. Martin, S. Lafont, J.-C. Calvet, S. Faroux, and P. Quintana-Seguí

Abstract. In order to evaluate the uncertainty associated with the impact model in climate change studies, a CO2 responsive version of the land surface model ISBA (ISBA-A-gs) is compared with its standard version in a climate impact assessment study. The study is performed over the French Mediterranean basin using the Safran-Isba-Modcou chain. A downscaled A2 regional climate scenario is used to force both versions of ISBA, and the results of the two land surface models are compared for the present climate and for that at the end of the century. Reasonable agreement is found between models and with discharge observations. However, ISBA-A-gs has a lower mean evapotranspiration and a higher discharge than ISBA-Standard. Results for the impact of climate change are coherent on a yearly basis for evapotranspiration, total runoff, and discharge. However, the two versions of ISBA present contrasting seasonal variations. ISBA-A-gs develops a different vegetation cycle. The growth of the vegetation begins earlier and reaches a slightly lower maximum than in the present climate. This maximum is followed by a rapid decrease in summertime. In consequence, the springtime evapotranspiration is significantly increased when compared to ISBA-Standard, while the autumn evapotranspiration is lower. On average, discharge changes are more significant at the regional scale with ISBA-A-gs.