Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2024-41
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2024-41
19 Feb 2024
 | 19 Feb 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

HERA: a high-resolution pan-European hydrological reanalysis (1950–2020)

Aloïs Tilloy, Dominik Paprotny, Stefania Grimaldi, Goncalo Gomes, Alessandra Bianchi, Stefan Lange, Hylke Beck, and Luc Feyen

Abstract. Since 1950, European rivers have been put under increasing pressure by anthropogenic activities, resulting in changes in climate, land cover, soil properties and channel morphologies. These evolving environmental conditions can translate into changes in hydrological conditions. The availability of consistent estimates of river flow at global and continental level is a necessity to assess and attribute changes in the hydrological cycle. To overcome limitations posed by observations (incomplete records, inhomogeneous spatial coverage), we simulate river discharge for Europe for the period 1950–2020 using a state-of-the-art hydrological modelling approach. We use the new European set up of the LISFLOOD model, running at 1 arcminute (≈1.8 km) with six-hourly time steps. The hydrological model is forced by climate reanalysis data (ERA5-land) bias-corrected and downscaled to the model resolution with weather observations. The model also ingests 72 surface fields maps representing catchment morphology, vegetation, soil properties, land use, water demand, lakes and reservoirs. Inputs related to human activities are evolving through time to emulate changes in society. The resulting Hydrological European ReAnalysis (HERA), provides six-hourly river discharge for 282 521 river pixels with upstream area > 100 km2. We assess its skill using 2901 river gauging stations distributed across Europe. Overall, HERA delivers satisfying results, with a general weak underestimation of observed mean discharge and flow variability. We find that the performance of HERA increases through time between 1950 and 2020. The fine spatial and temporal resolution result in an enhanced performance compared to other reanalysis for small-to-medium-scale catchments (100–10 000 km2), with degraded performance remaining for small catchments. HERA is the first long-term, high-resolution hydrological reanalysis for Europe. Despite its limitations, it enables the analysis of hydrological dynamics related to extremes, human influences, and climate change at a continental scale while keeping local relevance. It also creates the opportunity to study these dynamics in ungauged catchments across Europe.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Aloïs Tilloy, Dominik Paprotny, Stefania Grimaldi, Goncalo Gomes, Alessandra Bianchi, Stefan Lange, Hylke Beck, and Luc Feyen

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2024-41', Anonymous Referee #1, 23 Apr 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Aloïs Tilloy, 24 Jun 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2024-41', Anonymous Referee #2, 29 Apr 2024
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC2', Aloïs Tilloy, 24 Jun 2024
  • RC3: 'Comment on essd-2024-41', Anonymous Referee #3, 13 May 2024
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC3', Aloïs Tilloy, 24 Jun 2024
Aloïs Tilloy, Dominik Paprotny, Stefania Grimaldi, Goncalo Gomes, Alessandra Bianchi, Stefan Lange, Hylke Beck, and Luc Feyen

Data sets

HERA: a high-resolution pan-European hydrological reanalysis (1950-2020) A. Tilloy et al. http://data.europa.eu/89h/a605a675-9444-4017-8b34-d66be5b18c95

Model code and software

HERA Alois Tilloy https://github.com/Alowis/HERA

LISFLOOD code Joint Research Centre https://github.com/ec-jrc/lisflood-code

Aloïs Tilloy, Dominik Paprotny, Stefania Grimaldi, Goncalo Gomes, Alessandra Bianchi, Stefan Lange, Hylke Beck, and Luc Feyen

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Short summary
This article presents a reanalysis of Europe's rivers streamflow for the period 1950–2020, using a state-of-the-art hydrological simulation framework. The dataset, called HERA (Hydrological European ReAnalysis), uses detailed information about the landscape, climate, and human activities to estimate river flow. HERA can be a valuable tool for studying hydrological dynamics, including the impacts of climate change and human activities on European water resources, flood and drought risks.
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