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V2Karst V1.1: a parsimonious large-scale integrated vegetation–recharge model to simulate the impact of climate and land cover change in karst regions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4933-4964
Number of pages32
JournalGeoscientific Model Development
Issue number12
DateAccepted/In press - 7 Nov 2018
DatePublished (current) - 6 Dec 2018


Karst aquifers are an important source of drinking water in many regions of the world. Karst areas are highly permeable and produce large amounts of groundwater recharge, while surface runoff is often negligible. As a result, recharge in these systems may have a different sensitivity to climate and land cover changes than in other less permeable systems. However, little is known about the combined impact of climate and land cover changes in karst areas at large scales. In particular, the representation of land cover, and its controls on evapotranspiration, has been very limited in previous karst hydrological models. In this study, we address this gap (1) by introducing the first large-scale hydrological model including an explicit representation of both karst and land cover properties, and (2) by providing an in-depth analysis of the model's recharge production behaviour. To achieve these aims, we replace the empirical approach to evapotranspiration estimation of a previous large-scale karst recharge model (VarKarst) with an explicit, mechanistic and parsimonious approach in the new model (V2Karst V1.1). We demonstrate the plausibility of V2Karst simulations at four carbonate rock FLUXNET sites by assessing the model's ability to reproduce observed evapotranspiration and soil moisture patterns and by showing that the controlling modelled processes are in line with expectations. Additional virtual experiments with synthetic input data systematically explore the sensitivities of recharge to precipitation characteristics (overall amount and temporal distribution) and land cover properties. This approach confirms that these sensitivities agree with expectations and provides first insights into the potential impacts of future change. V2Karst is the first model that enables the study of the joint impacts of large-scale land cover and climate changes on groundwater recharge in karst regions.

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