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Probst, Elisabeth ORCID: 0000-0002-2162-1231; Mauser, Wolfram (2022): Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources in the Danube River Basin: A Hydrological Modelling Study Using EURO-CORDEX Climate Scenarios. Water, 15 (1): 8. ISSN 2073-4441

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Climate change affects the hydrological cycle of river basins and strongly impacts water resource availability. The mechanistic hydrological model PROMET was driven with an ensemble of EURO-CORDEX regional climate model projections under the emission scenarios RCP2.6 and RCP8.5 to analyze changes in temperature, precipitation, soil water content, plant water stress, snow water equivalent (SWE) and runoff dynamics in the Danube River Basin (DRB) in the near (2031–2060) and far future (2071–2100) compared to the historical reference (1971–2000). Climate change impacts remain moderate for RCP2.6 and become severe for RCP8.5, exhibiting strong year-round warming trends in the far future with wetter winters in the Upper Danube and drier summers in the Lower Danube, leading to decreasing summer soil water contents, increasing plant water stress and decreasing SWE. Discharge seasonality of the Danube River shifts toward increasing winter runoff and decreasing summer runoff, while the risk of high flows increases along the entire Danube mainstream and the risk of low flows increases along the Lower Danube River. Our results reveal increasing climate change-induced discrepancies between water surplus and demand in space and time, likely leading to intensified upstream–downstream and inter-sectoral water competition in the DRB under climate change.

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