Biogeosciences Discuss., 9, 5153-5176, 2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in BG.
Water supply patterns in two agricultural areas of Central Germany under climate change conditions
M. H. Tölle1, C. Moseley2, O. Panferov1, G. Busch3, and A. Knohl1
1Department of Bioclimatology, University of Göttingen, Büsgenweg 2, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
2Max-Planck-Institute of Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
3BALSA, Göttingen, Germany

Abstract. Increasing emissions of greenhouse gases and increasing prices for fossil fuels have highlighted the demand for CO2 "neutral" renewable energy sources, e.g. short rotation forestry systems used for bioenergy. These systems might be vulnerable to changes in temperature, precipitation and occurrence of extreme weather events. To estimate success or failure of such short rotation coppices in a certain area we need regional climate projections and risk assessment. Changes of water supply patterns in two agriculturally extensively used regions in Central Germany (around Göttingen and Großfahner) with different climate conditions but both in the temperate climate zone are explored. The study is carried out under present conditions as well as under projected climate change conditions (1971–2100) using A1B and B1 climate scenarios downscaled for Europe. Analysis of precipitation bias shows regional differences: a strong bias in Göttingen area and a weaker bias in the Großfahner area. A bias correction approach, Quantile mapping, is applied to the ensemble results for both areas for winter and summer seasons. By using quantile regression on the seasonal Standardized Precipitation Indices (SPIs) as indicator for water supply conditions we found that precipitation is expected to increase in winter in all quantiles of the distribution for Göttingen area during the 21th century. Heavy precipitation is also expected to increase for Großfahner area suggesting a trend to wetter extremes in winter for the future. This winter precipitation increase could trigger runoff and soil erosion risk enhancing the severity of floods. Increasing winter availability of water could enhance local water supply in spring. For both areas no significant change in summer was found over the whole time period. Although the climate change signal of the SPI indicate mild dryer conditions in summer at the end of the 21st century which may trigger water shortage and summer drying associated with above–average temperatures in the future. Even though both study areas are close together Großfahner area was found to be the least affected one by changes indicating that small spatial scale differences matter. These developments were found in all examined simulation runs. This study highlighted the regional differences in the vulnerability to water surplus or deficit risks in a temperate system which emphasizes the need in impact studies to focus on proper consideration of local and regional environmental conditions as well as adaption and mitigation of management for agriculture.

Citation: Tölle, M. H., Moseley, C., Panferov, O., Busch, G., and Knohl, A.: Water supply patterns in two agricultural areas of Central Germany under climate change conditions, Biogeosciences Discuss., 9, 5153-5176, doi:10.5194/bgd-9-5153-2012, 2012.
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