Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-115
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-115
26 Feb 2024
 | 26 Feb 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Vegetation Response to Climatic Variability: Implications for Root Zone Storage and Streamflow Predictions

Nienke Tessa Tempel, Laurene Bouaziz, Riccardo Taormina, Ellis van Noppen, Jasper Stam, Eric Sprokkereef, and Markus Hrachowitz

Abstract. This paper investigates the influence of multi-decadal climatic variability on the temporal evolution of root zone storage capacities (Sr,max) and its implications for streamflow predictions at the catchment scale. Through a comprehensive analysis of 286 catchments across Europe and the US, we analyse the deviations in evaporative ratios (IE) from expected values based on catchment aridity (IA) and their subsequent impact on Sr,max predictions. Our findings reveal that while catchments do not strictly adhere to their specific parametric Budyko curves over time, the deviations in IE are generally very minor, with an average ΔIE = 0.01 and an interquartile range IQR= -0.01 to 0.03. Consequently, these minor deviations lead to limited changes in predictions of Sr,max, mostly ranging between -10.5 and +21.5 mm (-5.1 % to +9.9 %). When these uncertainties in Sr,max are incorporated into hydrological models, the impact on streamflow predictions is found to be marginal, with the most significant shifts in monthly evaporation and streamflow not exceeding 4 % and 12 %, respectively. Our study underscores the utility of parametric Budyko-style equations for first order estimates of future Sr,max in hydrological models, even in the face of climate change and variability. This research contributes to a more nuanced understanding of hydrological responses to changing climatic conditions and offers valuable insights for future climate impact studies in hydrology.

Nienke Tessa Tempel, Laurene Bouaziz, Riccardo Taormina, Ellis van Noppen, Jasper Stam, Eric Sprokkereef, and Markus Hrachowitz

Status: open (until 21 May 2024)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-115', Andrew Guswa, 24 Mar 2024 reply
Nienke Tessa Tempel, Laurene Bouaziz, Riccardo Taormina, Ellis van Noppen, Jasper Stam, Eric Sprokkereef, and Markus Hrachowitz

Data sets

CAMELS-GB: hydrometeorological time series and landscape attributes for 671 catchments in Great Britain. G. Coxon et al. https://essd.copernicus.org/articles/12/2459/2020/

The CAMELS data set: catchment attributes and meteorology for large-sample studies. N. Addor et al. https://hess.copernicus.org/articles/21/5293/2017/

Model code and software

WFLOW FlexTopo W. van Verseveld et al. https://zenodo.org/records/7040513

Interactive computing environment

Paper Vegetation Response Python notebooks Nienke Tempel https://github.com/nienketempel/Paper-Vegetation-Response-2024-

Nienke Tessa Tempel, Laurene Bouaziz, Riccardo Taormina, Ellis van Noppen, Jasper Stam, Eric Sprokkereef, and Markus Hrachowitz

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Short summary
This study explores the impact of climatic variability on root zone water storage capacities thus on hydrological predictions. Analysing data from 286 areas in Europe and the US, we found that despite some variations in root zone storage capacity due to changing climatic conditions over multiple decades, these changes are generally minor and have a limited effect on water storage and river flow predictions.