Climate change undoubtedly will affect snow events as temperature and precipitation are expected to change in the future. Spanish mountains are especially affected by that situation, since snow storage is there focussed on very specific periods of the hydrological year and plays a very important role in the management of water resources. In this study, an analysis of the behaviour of the complex snow-related phenomena in the four main mountain regions of Spain in the next 50 years is conducted. The ASTER hydrological model is applied using temperature and precipitation data as basic input, estimated under a climate change scenario. Results show different changes in the maximum and average expected flows, depending on the very different magnitude and sign of changes in precipitation. An increase of flooding episodes may occur as a result of a complex relation between changes in precipitation and an increase in maximum snowmelt intensities that range from 2.1% in the Pyrenees to 7.4% in the Cantabrian Mountains. However, common patterns are shown in a shorter duration of the snow bulk reserves, expected to occur 45 days earlier for the Cantabrian Mountains, and about 30 days for the rest of the studied mountain regions. Changes observed also lead to a concerning decrease in the regulatory effect of the snow-related phenomena in the Spanish rivers, with a decrease in the average snow accumulation that ranges from about 28% for the Pyrenees and Sierra Nevada to 42% for the Central System and the Cantabrian Mountains. A decrease in average flow is expected, fluctuating from 2.4% in the Pyrenees to 7.3% in Cantabrian Mountains, only increasing in the Central System by 4.0%, making all necessary to develop new adaptation measures to climate change.
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