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Bristol, United Kingdom

Cabello A.,aqua Water Technology Center | Velasco M.,aqua Water Technology Center | Barredo J.I.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | Hurkmans R.T.W.L.,Bristol Glaciology Center | And 3 more authors.
Environmental Science and Policy

The main objective of this work is to identify and evaluate the potential impacts produced by climate and land-use changes in six European test-bed basins (Llobregat, Guadalhorce, Gardon d'Anduze, Linth, Verzasca and Sambuco). Data to build future scenarios that can modify the different basins' flash flood and debris flow risk level has been analyzed in this paper. High resolution climate scenarios have been obtained from several European projects and/or National initiatives, depending on each case. Climatic variables have been widely analyzed, with a special focus on extreme precipitation. Typical generalized extreme value (GEV) distributions have been fitted to observed and projected rainfall data to assess impacts in the frequency distributions of extreme rainfall up to 2100. Regarding climate, the main conclusion is the importance of using data at the maximum spatial and temporal resolution applying downscaling methodologies adapted to basin scale (test-bed areas ranging from approx 200 to 5000km2) and oriented to obtain extreme rainfall values.In general, high variability has been detected, obtaining very different results for the different models and scenarios. Data corrections may lead to better representations of present situations and, therefore, more reliable future projections, but currently some of them are not suitable for extreme precipitation assessment.Regarding land-use changes, a cellular automata-based model has been used (MOLAND) to simulate the 2000-2040 period taking the CORINE land-use dataset as input data. Llobregat, Guadalhorce and Gardon d'Anduze basins have been identified as potentially interesting for simulating urban land-use dynamics due to the existence of important urban areas within their limits. The assessment of the rural land-use changes has been carried out using the results from the EURURALIS project (2000-2030 period), available for all the basins.The results of this paper are framed in the FP7 project IMPRINTS that has the aim of analyzing impacts of future changes to provide guidelines for mitigation and adaptation measures and, in general, to improve the application of the EC Flood Risk Management Directive. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Wouters B.,Bristol Glaciology Center | Wouters B.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Bonin J.A.,University of South Florida | Chambers D.P.,University of South Florida | And 4 more authors.
Reports on Progress in Physics

Continuous observations of temporal variations in the Earth's gravity field have recently become available at an unprecedented resolution of a few hundreds of kilometers. The gravity field is a product of the Earth's mass distribution, and these data - provided by the satellites of the Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE) - can be used to study the exchange of mass both within the Earth and at its surface. Since the launch of the mission in 2002, GRACE data has evolved from being an experimental measurement needing validation from ground truth, to a respected tool for Earth scientists representing a fixed bound on the total change and is now an important tool to help unravel the complex dynamics of the Earth system and climate change. In this review, we present the mission concept and its theoretical background, discuss the data and give an overview of the major advances GRACE has provided in Earth science, with a focus on hydrology, solid Earth sciences, glaciology and oceanography. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd. Source

Bougamont M.,Scott Polar Research Institute | Price S.,Los Alamos National Laboratory | Price S.,Bristol Glaciology Center | Christoffersen P.,Scott Polar Research Institute | Payne A.J.,Bristol Glaciology Center
Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface

Predicting ice sheet mass balance is challenging because of the complex flow of ice streams. To address this issue, we have coupled a three-dimensional higher-order ice sheet model to a basal processes model where subglacial till has a plastic rheology and evolving yield stress. The model was tested for its sensitivity to regional water availability. First, with an assumed undrained bed, the ice stream oscillates between active and stagnant phases, solely as a result of thermodynamic feedbacks occurring at the ice-till interface. However, the velocity amplitude decreases over time, as insufficient basal meltwater causes the ice stream to gradually thicken and enter a slow flowing "ice sheet mode." Second, we assume that the till is able to assimilate water from a hypothetical regional hydrological system. This leads to significantly different long-term behavior, as a continuously oscillating "ice stream mode" is maintained. The extra water incorporated in the till leads to higher velocities, triggering stronger thermodynamic feedbacks between the ice and till layer. Results also suggest that fast-flowing ice streams may be modulated by till properties as a result of the duration of thermal conditions during the preceding stagnant phase. Similarly, till properties beneath stagnant ice streams are influenced by basal conditions during the preceding fast flow phase. Our findings support the inference that ice streams are strongly influenced by the presence of a regional hydrological system, underscoring the need to accurately describe the coupling between ice dynamics, basal conditions and regional subglacial hydrology in ice sheet models. © 2011 by the American Geophysical Union. Source

Wouters B.,Bristol Glaciology Center | Wouters B.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Bamber J.L.,Bristol Glaciology Center | Van Den Broeke M.R.,University Utrecht | And 2 more authors.
Nature Geoscience

The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have been reported to be losing mass at accelerating rates. If sustained, this accelerating mass loss will result in a global mean sea-level rise by the year 2100 that is approximately 43 cm greater than if a linear trend is assumed. However, at present there is no scientific consensus on whether these reported accelerations result from variability inherent to the ice-sheet-climate system, or reflect long-term changes and thus permit extrapolation to the future. Here we compare mass loss trends and accelerations in satellite data collected between January 2003 and September 2012 from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment to long-term mass balance time series from a regional surface mass balance model forced by re-analysis data. We find that the record length of spaceborne gravity observations is too short at present to meaningfully separate long-term accelerations from short-term ice sheet variability. We also find that the detection threshold of mass loss acceleration depends on record length: to detect an acceleration at an accuracy within ±10 Gt yr -2, a period of 10 years or more of observations is required for Antarctica and about 20 years for Greenland. Therefore, climate variability adds uncertainty to extrapolations of future mass loss and sea-level rise, underscoring the need for continuous long-term satellite monitoring. Source

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