Influence of multidecadal variability on high and low flows: the case of the Seine basin

Bonnet, Rémy ; Boé, Julien ; Habets, Florence

Année de publication
<p align=justify><strong>Abstract.</strong> The multidecadal hydroclimate variations of the Seine basin since the 1850s are investigated. Given the scarcity of long-term hydrological observations, a hydrometeorological reconstruction is developed based on hydrological modeling and a method that combines the results of a downscaled long-term atmospheric reanalysis and local observations of precipitation and temperature. This method improves previous attempts and provides a realistic representation of daily and monthly river flows. This new hydrometeorological reconstruction, available over more than 150 years while maintaining fine spatial and temporal resolutions, provides a tool to improve our understanding of the multidecadal hydrological variability in the Seine basin, as well as its influence on high and low flows. This long-term reconstruction allows analysis of the strong multidecadal variations of the Seine river flows. The main hydrological mechanisms at the origin of these variations are highlighted. Spring precipitation plays a central role by directly influencing not only the multidecadal variability in spring flows but also soil moisture and groundwater recharge, which then regulate summer river flows. These multidecadal hydroclimate variations in the Seine basin are driven by anomalies in large-scale atmospheric circulation, which themselves appear to be influenced by sea surface temperature anomalies over the North Atlantic and the North Pacific. The multidecadal hydroclimate variations also influence high and low flows over the last 150 years. The analysis of two particularly severe historical droughts, the 1921 and the 1949 events, illustrates how long-term hydroclimate variations may impact short-term drought events, particularly through groundwater-river exchanges. The multidecadal hydroclimate variations described in this study, probably of internal origin, could play an important role in the evolution of water resources in the Seine basin in the coming decades. It is therefore essential to take the associated uncertainties into account in future projections.</p>
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