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A Simple Groundwater Scheme for Hydrological and Climate Applications: Description and Offline Evaluation over France

Abstract : Despite their potential influences on surface water and climate, groundwater processes are generally not represented in climate models. Here, a simple groundwater scheme including two-dimensional flow dynamics and accounting for groundwater river exchanges is introduced into the global Total Runoff Integrated Pathways (TRIP) river routing model coupled to the Meteo-France climate model. This original scheme is tested in offline mode over France at high (1/12 degrees) and low (0.5 degrees) resolution against a dense network of river discharge and water table observations over the 1970-2010 period, and is compared to the fine-tuned Systeme d'Analyze Fournissant des Renseignements Atmospheriques a la Neige (SAFRAN) Interactions between Soil, Biosphere, and Atmosphere (ISBA) coupled hydrometeorological model (MODCOU). In addition, the simulated terrestrial water storage (TWS) variations are compared to the TWS estimates from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission. The aquifer basins over France are defined using the World-wide Hydrogeological Mapping and Assessment Programme (WHYMAP) groundwater resources map, a simplified French lithological map, and the International Geological Map of Europe (IGME). TRIP is forced by daily runoff and drainage data derived from a preexisting simulation of the ISBA land surface scheme driven by the high-resolution SAFRAN meteorological analysis. Four simulations are carried out with or without groundwater at both resolutions. Results show that the groundwater scheme allows TRIP to better capture the spatiotemporal variability of the observed river discharges and piezometric heads. Summer base flows are particularly improved over the main rivers of France. Decreasing the horizontal resolution has a limited impact on the simulated discharges, while it slightly degrades the simulation of water table variations.
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J. -P. Vergnes, B. Decharme, R. Alkama, E. Martin, Florence Habets, et al.. A Simple Groundwater Scheme for Hydrological and Climate Applications: Description and Offline Evaluation over France. Journal of Hydrometeorology, American Meteorological Society, 2012, 13 (4), pp.1149-1171. ⟨10.1175/JHM-D-11-0149.1⟩. ⟨hal-01195811⟩

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