Un siècle de variabilité hydro-climatique sur le bassin de la Durance : Recherches historiques et reconstitutions

Abstract : Understanding and predicting hydrological variability is becoming a major issue to improve water resources management at the watershed scale, as climate variability and multipurpose use of water increase stress on the available resources. In France, the Durance watershed (South part of the Alps) is both characterised by numerous water-related activities such as hydropower, irrigation, water supply, tourism, and by a wide range of meteorological contexts ranging from mountainous to dry Mediterranean watersheds. As a consequence, this watershed appears as very sensitive to observed and projected climate variability, with an impact on water resources sufficient to question the current balance between users. In order to better forecast the Durance watershed hydrological variability, tracing back its past evolution is an essential step. Indeed, historical knowledge provides a better understanding of how the watershed works, and put into perspective hydro meteorological projections for the next century. The main goal of this Ph.D. thesis is then to improve our knowledge of the hydrological variability of the Durance watershed over the last century. Two main themes have been developed.The first step focused on historical research, bringing to light 11 centennial time-series of daily streamflow on the Durance watershed. Those data were quite well documented, allowing us to follow the evolution of the methods used to construct some of those time-series. Based on recent streamflow time-series, a simulation process allowed us to quantify the uncertainty associated to the methods used in the past, and to highlight the significant biases they carried on some periods of time. A correction process was then developed, leading to the partial revision of some of the time-series. A second step involved reconstructing hydrological time-series at different points of the watershed. An original method, called ANATEM, has been introduced and exhaustively applied to rebuild climatological time-series at the watershed scale. This method is based on the use of large scale climatological variables (atmospheric pressure fields) combined with regional scale observations (observed precipitation or air temperature). Those reconstructed climatological time-series were then prescribed in a rainfall-runoff model, allowing the computation of hydrological simulations on the 1884-2010 period. The comparison of the simulated data with our 11 centennial observed time series allowed us to validate our hydro-climatological reconstruction chain over more than a century. Finally, the observed and simulated time-series illustrate the climatological and hydrological variability of the Durance watershed. This variability is characterised by the succession of alternatively dry and humid periods lasting for ten to fifteen years, and by a slight trend to streamflow decrease. These long-term hydrological time-series will then put into perspective future investigations on water resources available over the next century.
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Anna Kuentz. Un siècle de variabilité hydro-climatique sur le bassin de la Durance : Recherches historiques et reconstitutions. Autre [q-bio.OT]. AgroParisTech, 2013. Français. ⟨NNT : 2013AGPT0047⟩. ⟨tel-01171004⟩

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