The AquiFR hydrometeorological modelling platform as a tool for improving groundwater resource monitoring over France: evaluation over a 60-year period

Vergnes, Jean-Pierre ; Roux, Nicolas ; Habets, Florence ; Ackerer, Philippe ; Amraoui, Nadia ; Besson, François ; Caballero, Yvan ; Courtois, Quentin ; de Dreuzy, Jean-Raynald ; Etchevers, Pierre ; Gallois, Nicolas ; Leroux, Delphine J. ; Longuevergne, Laurent ; Le Moigne, Patrick ; Morel, Thierry ; Munier, Simon ; Regimbeau, Fabienne ; Thiéry, Dominique ; Viennot, Pascal

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<p align=justify>The new AquiFR hydrometeorological modelling platform was developed to provide short-to-long-term forecasts for groundwater resource management in France. This study aims to describe and assess this new tool over a long period of 60 years. This platform gathers in a single numerical tool several hydrogeological models covering much of the French metropolitan area. A total of 11 aquifer systems are simulated through spatially distributed models using either the MARTHE (Modélisation d'Aquifères avec un maillage Rectangulaire, Transport et HydrodynamiquE; Modelling Aquifers with Rectangular cells, Transport and Hydrodynamics) groundwater modelling software programme or the EauDyssée hydrogeological platform. A total of 23 karstic systems are simulated by a lumped reservoir approach using the EROS (Ensemble de Rivières Organisés en Sous-bassins; set of rivers organized in sub-basins) software programme. AquiFR computes the groundwater level, the groundwater-surface-water exchanges and the river flows. A simulation covering a 60-year period from 1958 to 2018 is achieved in order to evaluate the performance of this platform. The 8 km resolution SAFRAN (Système d'Analyse Fournissant des Renseignements Adaptés à la Nivologie) meteorological analysis provides the atmospheric variables needed by the SURFEX (SURFace EXternalisée) land surface model in order to compute surface runoff and groundwater recharge used by the hydrogeological models. The assessment is based on more than 600 piezometers and more than 300 gauging stations corresponding to simulated rivers<span id="page634"/> and outlets of karstic systems. For the simulated piezometric heads, 42 % and 60 % of the absolute biases are lower than 2 and 4 m respectively. The standardized piezometric level index (SPLI) was computed to assess the ability of AquiFR to identify extreme events such as groundwater floods or droughts in the long-term simulation over a set of piezometers used for groundwater resource management. A total of 56 % of the Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE; <span class="inline-formula"><i>E</i><sub>f</sub></span>) coefficient calculations between the observed and simulated SPLI time series are greater than 0.5. The quality of the results makes it possible to consider using the platform for real-time monitoring and seasonal forecasts of groundwater resources as well as for climate change impact assessments.</p>
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