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Drought-related variables over the Barlad basin (Eastern Romania) under climate change scenarios. Catena, 141, pp. 92-99, 2016.

Autori: Sorin Ionut Dascalu, Madalina Gothard, Roxana Bojariu, Marius-Victor Birsan, Roxana Cica, Ruxandra Vintila, Mary-Jeanne Adler, Viorel Chendes, Rodica-Paula Mic

Editorial: Elsevier, Catena, 141, p.92-99, 2016.


The goal of this study is the assessment of the future evolution of monthly temperature and precipitation and
their influences exerted on droughts occurring in the Barlad river basin (Eastern Romania). We have used recent
results of experiments based on regional and global climate models under the Representative Concentration
Pathway (RCPs) scenarios (RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5), which have been made accessible thanks to the EUROCORDEX
initiative. The impact of climate change on drought is assessed by using the Palmer Drought Severity
Index (PDSI). The correlations between the observed streamflow at the Barlad basin outlet and the PDSI related
indices show that the PDSI represents reasonably well the local water balance. The linear trend analysis
of multimodel ensemble means reveals that, under climate change, the basin-averaged PDSI will be lower thus
indicating a tendency towards drought. The PDSI method applied to the Barlad basin seems to show low sensitivity
to soil characteristics such as available water capacity when drought trends are investigated. On the
other hand, model results reveal that, under climate change conditions, the Thornthwaite formula for calculating
the potential evapotranspiration will lead to a substantial overestimation of the aridity tendency whenever compared
with the Penman–Monteith approach. Depending on the specific climate scenario and parametrization of
potential evapotranspiration, droughts that were deemed as incipient, mild or severe towards the end of the 20th
century will have a normal feature towards the end of the 21st century.