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Climate projections in the Lake Maggiore watershed using the statistical downscaling model

Helmi Saidi, Claudia Dresti, Dario Manca, Marzia Ciampittiello

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ABSTRACT: Precipitation and temperature over the Lake Maggiore watershed greatly influences its water balance. Local communities from both Italy and Switzerland rely on the watershed for agriculture, tourism and hydropower production. Accurate climate projections in this area are vital in dealing with their impacts, and yet are still lacking. Future climate was assessed by applying SDSM model and using CanESM2 predictors. Three scenarios defined by RCP2.6, RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, were adopted. Based on our results, SDSM had a certain applicability on simulating precipitation and temperature in an Alpine area. Results indicate that warming from now until the end of the century will be about two to three times larger without global mitigation. Temperature is estimated to increase throughout the 21st century, with a stronger warming trend in the north-eastern part than the south-western part. The strength of the warming at the end of the century highly depends on the scenario considered, with an increase up to 1.7 °C for the mitigation scenario RCP2.6 compared to 4.2 °C for the unmitigated scenario RCP8.5. Seasonal precipitation is expected to change depending on the future scenarios. Most of the region is expected to display a seasonally positive precipitation change during cold season and vice versa, resulting in a shift in peak rainy season from autumn to winter. These findings suggest that the area might be a vulnerable region to global change and will provide useful insight to develop better strategy for the better management of water resources and to study the adoptive measures to manage flood disasters.