Skip to main content

Impact of climate change on hydrological regimes and water resources in the european community


To provide quantitative information to decision-makers in the
European Commission and water managers in the European Community
on the impacts of climate change on the water balance, through
the use of climate change scenarios and mathematical hydrological
models, and to provide guidance on the management of water
resources in the EC in the face of climate change.

The project will operate on three scales, namely the EC scale,
the regional scale (the Rhine basin), and the catchment scale.
The links between the various elements are via consistent climate
change scenarios and a consistent methodology.

The basic methodology to be used in the current project will
consist in the application of a hydrological and water resources
model under current and perturbed climates to simulate
hydrological characteristics at a high spatial resolution (river
flow regimes, variability in runoff regime over time, etc.).

The results of these studies will be used to provide quantitative
information on the possible changes in the effects of climate
change for regional and catchment scales for selected water use
systems across the EC (Alicromon basin in Greece, Rhine river,
water supply system in southern England) and to develop
procedures for adapting reservoir management to changing

Sensitivity test of the hydrological regime of the Rhine basin
and selected sub-basin to land use change, will be made to
establish baseline trends in order to compare the effects of
future climate change with past variability and future effects of
non-climate changes. The hydrological models used by the
participants will differ in methodology, time step and spatial
domain, according to the requirements of the specific study. The
outputs of the models will however be comparable and produce a
consistent set of project results for the catchment, regional and
EC scale. Most of the models to be used already exist, and will
need to be adapted and implemented for the purpose of the
project; the remainder require development largely in order to
produce comparable results across larger regions.

A range of scenarios will be developed by the Climatic Research
Unit of the University of East Anglia for transient changes in
monthly rainfall, temperature and potential evaporation over the
period 1990 to 2100, at a spatial scale of 0.5º x 0.5º
. They will be created by rescaling the standardised output from
a number of state--of--the--art global climate model simulations
according to the transient global temperature change as determine
for a given emissions scenario from one--dimensional model. All
the studies will use the same set of scenarios, and steps will be
taken to ensure that the scenarios developed for the current
project are consistent with scenarios that may be applied in
other EC climate change impact assessments.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Maclean Building, Crowmarsh Gifford
OX10 8BB Wallingford
United Kingdom

Participants (4)

Internationale Kommission für die Hydrologie des Rheingebietes

8200 AA Lelystad
5,Heroon Polytechniou 5
15780 Athens
150,Universitaetsstrasse 150
44780 Bochum
United Kingdom
SO17 1BJ Southampton