Informations et ressources scientifiques
sur le développement des zones arides et semi-arides

Accueil du site → Doctorat → Allemagne → 2002 → Large scale hydrological modelling in the semi-arid north-east of Brazil

Potsdam Universität (2002)

Large scale hydrological modelling in the semi-arid north-east of Brazil

Güntner, Andreas

Titre : Large scale hydrological modelling in the semi-arid north-east of Brazil

Auteur : Güntner, Andreas

Université de soutenance : Potsdam, Univ.

Grade : Doctoral thesis 2002

Résumé partiel
Semi-arid areas are, due to their climatic setting, characterized by small water resources. An increasing water demand as a consequence of population growth and economic development as well as a decreasing water availability in the course of possible climate change may aggravate water scarcity in future, which often exists already for present-day conditions in these areas. Understanding the mechanisms and feedbacks of complex natural and human systems, together with the quantitative assessment of future changes in volume, timing and quality of water resources are a prerequisite for the development of sustainable measures of water management to enhance the adaptive capacity of these regions. For this task, dynamic integrated models, containing a hydrological model as one component, are indispensable tools. The main objective of this study is to develop a hydrological model for the quantification of water availability in view of environmental change over a large geographic domain of semi-arid environments. The study area is the Federal State of Ceará (150 000 km2) in the semi-arid north-east of Brazil. Mean annual precipitation in this area is 850 mm, falling in a rainy season with duration of about five months. Being mainly characterized by crystalline bedrock and shallow soils, surface water provides the largest part of the water supply. The area has recurrently been affected by droughts which caused serious economic losses and social impacts like migration from the rural regions. The hydrological model Wasa (Model of Water Availability in Semi-Arid Environments) developed in this study is a deterministic, spatially distributed model being composed of conceptual, process-based approaches. Water availability (river discharge, storage volumes in reservoirs, soil moisture) is determined with daily resolution. Sub-basins, grid cells or administrative units (municipalities) can be chosen as spatial target units. The administrative units enable the coupling of Wasa in the framework of an integrated model which contains modules that do not work on the basis of natural spatial units. The target units mentioned above are disaggregated in Wasa into smaller modelling units within a new multi-scale, hierarchical approach. The landscape units defined in this scheme capture in particular the effect of structured variability of terrain, soil and vegetation characteristics along toposequences on soil moisture and runoff generation. Lateral hydrological processes at the hillslope scale, as reinfiltration of surface runoff, being of particular importance in semi-arid environments, can thus be represented also within the large-scale model in a simplified form. Depending on the resolution of available data, small-scale variability is not represented explicitly with geographic reference in Wasa, but by the distribution of sub-scale units and by statistical transition frequencies for lateral fluxes between these units. Further model components of Wasa which respect specific features of semi-arid hydrology are : (1) A two-layer model for evapotranspiration comprises energy transfer at the soil surface (including soil evaporation), which is of importance in view of the mainly sparse vegetation cover. Additionally, vegetation parameters are differentiated in space and time in dependence on the occurrence of the rainy season. (2) The infiltration module represents in particular infiltration-excess surface runoff as the dominant runoff component. (3) For the aggregate description of the water balance of reservoirs that cannot be represented explicitly in the model, a storage approach respecting different reservoirs size classes and their interaction via the river network is applied. (4) A model for the quantification of water withdrawal by water use in different sectors is coupled to Wasa. (5) A cascade model for the temporal disaggregation of precipitation time series, adapted to the specific characteristics of tropical convective rainfall, is applied for the generating rainfall time series of higher temporal resolution. All model parameters of Wasa can be derived from physiographic information of the study area. Thus, model calibration is primarily not required. Model applications of Wasa for historical time series generally results in a good model performance when comparing the simulation results of river discharge and reservoir storage volumes with observed data for river basins of various sizes. The mean water balance as well as the high interannual and intra-annual variability is reasonably represented by the model. Limitations of the modelling concept are most markedly seen for sub-basins with a runoff component from deep groundwater bodies of which the dynamics cannot be satisfactorily represented without calibration.

Mots clés : Brasilien ; Hydrologie ; Klimaänderung ; Niederschlag-Abfluss-Modellierung ; Trockengebiet ; Unsicherheiten ; Wasserverfügbarkeit ; semi-arid Brazil ; climate change ; drylands ; hydrology ; rainfall-runoff modelling ; semi-arid ; uncertainties ; water availability Ceará / Semiarides Gebiet / Wasserreserve / Hydrologie / Mathematisches Modell


Version intégrale (8,67 Mb)

Page publiée le 27 mars 2007, mise à jour le 1er décembre 2018