Although water balance components at the catchment scale are strongly related to annual rainfall, the availability of water resources in Mediterranean catchments also depends on rainfall seasonality. Observed seasonal anomalies in historical records are fairly episodic, but an increase in their frequency might exacerbate water deficit or water excess if the rainy season shortens or extends its duration, e.g., due to climate change. This study evaluates the sensitivity of water yield, evapotranspiration, and groundwater recharge to changes in rainfall seasonality by using the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model applied to the upper Alento River catchment (UARC) in southern Italy, where a long time series of daily rainfall is available from 1920 to 2018. We compare two distinct approaches: (i) a "static"approach, where three seasonal features (namely rainy, dry, and transition fixed-duration 4-month seasons) are identified through the standardized precipitation index (SPI) and (ii) a "dynamic"approach based on a stochastic framework, where the duration of two seasons (rainy and dry seasons) varies from year to year according to a probability distribution. Seasonal anomalies occur when the transition season is replaced by the rainy or dry season in the first approach and when season duration occurs in the tails of its normal distribution in the second approach. Results are presented within a probabilistic framework. We also show that the Budyko curve is sensitive to the rainfall seasonality regime in UARC by questioning the implicit assumption of a temporal steady state between annual average dryness and the evaporative index. Although the duration of the rainy season does not exert a major control on water balance, we were able to identify season-dependent regression equations linking water yield to the dryness index in the rainy season.

Assessing the impact of seasonal-rainfall anomalies on catchment-scale water balance components

Deidda R.
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
2020

Abstract

Although water balance components at the catchment scale are strongly related to annual rainfall, the availability of water resources in Mediterranean catchments also depends on rainfall seasonality. Observed seasonal anomalies in historical records are fairly episodic, but an increase in their frequency might exacerbate water deficit or water excess if the rainy season shortens or extends its duration, e.g., due to climate change. This study evaluates the sensitivity of water yield, evapotranspiration, and groundwater recharge to changes in rainfall seasonality by using the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model applied to the upper Alento River catchment (UARC) in southern Italy, where a long time series of daily rainfall is available from 1920 to 2018. We compare two distinct approaches: (i) a "static"approach, where three seasonal features (namely rainy, dry, and transition fixed-duration 4-month seasons) are identified through the standardized precipitation index (SPI) and (ii) a "dynamic"approach based on a stochastic framework, where the duration of two seasons (rainy and dry seasons) varies from year to year according to a probability distribution. Seasonal anomalies occur when the transition season is replaced by the rainy or dry season in the first approach and when season duration occurs in the tails of its normal distribution in the second approach. Results are presented within a probabilistic framework. We also show that the Budyko curve is sensitive to the rainfall seasonality regime in UARC by questioning the implicit assumption of a temporal steady state between annual average dryness and the evaporative index. Although the duration of the rainy season does not exert a major control on water balance, we were able to identify season-dependent regression equations linking water yield to the dryness index in the rainy season.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11584/296739
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