Managing the impact of Climate Change on the Hydrology of the Gallocanta Basin, NE-Spain

Kuhn, NJ. and Schütt, B. and Baumhauer, R.. (2011) Managing the impact of Climate Change on the Hydrology of the Gallocanta Basin, NE-Spain. Journal of environmental management, Vol. 92. pp. 275-283.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A6001827

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The Gallocanta Basin represents an environment highly sensitive to climate change. Over the past 60 years, the Laguna de Gallocanta, an ephemeral lake situated in the closed Gallocanta basin, experienced a sequence of wet and dry phases. The lake and its surrounding wetlands are one of only a few bird sanctuaries left in NE-Spain for grey cranes on their annual migration from Scandinavia to northern Africa. Understanding the impact of climate change on basin hydrology is therefore of utmost importance for the appropriate management of the bird sanctuary. Changes in lake level are only weakly linked to annual rainfall, with reaction times between hours and months after rainfall. Both the total amount of rainfall over the reaction period, as well as individual extreme events, affect lake level. In this study the characteristics and frequencies of daily, event, monthly and bi-monthly rainfall over the past 60 years were analysed. The results revealed a clear link between increased frequencies of high magnitude rainfall and phases of water filling in the Laguna de Gallocanta. In the middle of the 20th century, the absolute amount of rainfall appears to have been more important for lake level, while more recently the frequency of high magnitude rainfall has emerged as the dominant variable. In the Gallocanta Basin, climate change and the distinct and continuing land use change since Spain joined the EU in 1986 have created an environment that is in a more or less constant state of transition. This highlights two challenges faced by hydrologists and climatologists involved in developing water management tools for the Gallocanta Basin in particular, but also other areas with sensitive and rapidly changing environments. Hydrologists have to understand the processes and the spatial and temporal patterns of surface–climate interaction in a watershed to assess the impact of climate change on its hydrology. Climatologists, on the other hand, have to develop climate model which provide the appropriate output data, such as reliable information on rainfall characteristics relevant for environmental management.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Geowissenschaften > Physiogeographie und Umweltwandel (Kuhn)
UniBasel Contributors:Kuhn, Nikolaus J.
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Academic Press
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:14 Sep 2012 07:21
Deposited On:14 Sep 2012 07:11

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