Since modifications of climate values impact the hydrological processes as well as the water regime, the Conference of Rhine Ministers charged the ICPR in 2007 to draft a “Study of Scenarios for the Discharge Regime of the Rhine“.
Effects of climate change modify the discharge pattern of the Rhine and its tributaries. Presumably, periods with floods or low flow will become more frequent and more distinct. Floods may be higher and last longer and thus cause damage more often and to a greater extent. Low flow may limit navigation as well as water supply. In addition, low flow reduces groundwater recharge and affects the quality of groundwater. A rise in air temperatures leads to higher water temperatures which again – together with low flow – might result in countless ecological and chemical changes of water bodies. During the past years, extensive work was carried out in order to improve the assessment of the degree of impact on the discharge regime of the Rhine.
Following a literature evaluation, the ICPR published the results of the “Study of Scenarios for the Discharge Regime of the Rhine“ in July 2011. According to this study, by the middle of the century, up to 20 % higher discharges are to be expected during winters in the Rhine catchment and up to 10 % lower discharges are expected during summers, while regional variations may occur. For the first time, the “Study of Scenarios for the Discharge Regime of the Rhine” presents discharge projections at representative gauging stations on the Rhine and the Moselle for the near future (up to 2050) as well for the remote future (up to 2100). The results reveal a considerable range of results summarized in the tables of Chapter 4 of the Study of Scenarios.
When developing the adaptation strategies still to be drafted for the Rhine catchment, those great ranges of the findings must be taken into account.
Report no. 219 (2015) (pdf):
Climate change adaptation strategy for the IRBD Rhine
Report no. 213 (2014) (pdf):
Estimation of the effects of climate change scenarios on future Rhine water temperature development - Summary Report
Report no. 214 (2014) (pdf):
Estimation of the effects of climate change scenarios on future Rhine water temperature development - Extensive Version
Report no. 209 (2013) (pdf):
Development of Rhine water temperatures based on validated temperature measurements between 1978 and 2011
Report no. 204 (2013) (pdf):
Present state of knowledge on possible consequences of changes of the discharge pattern and water temperature on the Rhine ecosystem and possible perspectives for Action
Workshop “Effects of climate change on the Rhine river basin“
Report no. 174 (2009) (pdf):
Literature evaluation “Analysis of the State of Knowledge on Climate Changes so far and on the Impact of Climate Change on the Water Regime in the Rhine Watershed”