EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Precipitation driven river catchment changes - how the climate models determine the results (the example from Polish Carpathians)

Agnieszka Wypych1, Paweł Wilk2, Ewa Szalińska3, and Paulina Orlińska-Woźniak2
Agnieszka Wypych et al.
  • 1Jagiellonian University, Institute of Geography and Spatial Management, Department of Climatology, Cracow, Poland (
  • 2Institute of Meteorology and Water Management, National Research Institute, 61 Podleśna St., 01-673 Warsaw, Poland
  • 3Faculty of Geology, Geophysics and Environmental Protection, AGH University of Science and Technology, 30 Adam Mickiewicz Av., 30-059 Cracow, Poland

Precipitation is one of the essential driving factors of natural processes influencing the structure and functioning of river catchment ecosystems. Changes in precipitation conditions have a significant impact on surface runoff and consequently the intensity of sediment transport, and its deposition especially in mountain catchments exposed to frequent rainfalls and prone to erosion. Therefore, insightful information about future precipitation regional projections seems to be crucial for ecosystem services management, including dammed reservoirs and fresh water resources.

In general, precipitation is projected to change its annual structure over Central Europe in relation to enhanced atmospheric moisture, moisture convergence and extratropical cyclone activity. Although new generations of climate models focus on improved simulation of water cycle, precipitation projections still become a challenge as key processes driving precipitation changes at local and hemispheric scale remain significantly sensitive to model resolution.

The aim of the study is to indicate the differences between particular precipitation projections for the exemplary Carpathian mountains catchment (Raba River, Poland) and their further evaluation   towards the impact of the chosen climate model on the environmental modelling results (sediment load variability). The outcomes of High Resolution Model Intercomparison Project (HighResMIP) - CMIP6 and higher-resolution regional data for Europe from the Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (EURO-CORDEX) will be taken into account. Absolute and relative changes in annual precipitation structure will be examined for the whole period of 2026-2100 with short-term (2026-2050) and long-term (2051-2100) perspectives.

The research conducted so far revealed that both sediment yields from the exemplary catchment and the sediment loads from the studied river could be greatly altered due to the predicted changes in precipitation and temperature. Since such changes can have a pronounced impact on vital ecological processes ongoing in the catchment the utmost attention should be paid to assessment of differences between climate change scenarios applied in such studies. 

How to cite: Wypych, A., Wilk, P., Szalińska, E., and Orlińska-Woźniak, P.: Precipitation driven river catchment changes - how the climate models determine the results (the example from Polish Carpathians), EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-14799,, 2023.