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Changement climatique en Polynésie française détection des changements observés, évaluation des projections

Abstract : The effects of climate change on Pacific islands is a major concern for the local populations. The rainfall parameter, specifically, appears as one of the sensitive parameters, as it determines water resources. The goal of this thesis is to bring a first insight into the 21st century evolution of precipitation in Tahiti.The first step was to characterize rainfall in Tahiti using data records from the observation network of Meteo France. The “rainfall season”, lasting from November to April, is the season of interest, as rainfall amounts are the highest at this time of the year. Indeed, the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ), host of deep convection, remains the principal source of rainfall in Tahiti in austral summer (December-January-February). On interannual and interdecadal timescales, the El niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) imply north/south and east/west migrations of the SPCZ, drawing it away, or closer to Tahiti. The positive phase of the IPO involves a north-eastward displacement of the SPCZ, which causes higher rainfall amounts in Tahiti. The SPCZ is displaced towards the south- west during negative IPO phase, leading to a decrease of rainfall in Tahiti. The study reveals that the IPO positive phase favor the occurrence of intense El niño events. In those cases, the SPCZ is critically displaced to the north-east and lies zonally just south of the equator. Accordingly, the SPCZ is drawn away from Tahiti and alters the south-east flow of trade winds. As a result, substantial orographic precipitation affect the south-east coasts of Tahiti.Following the assessment of observed precipitation for the period 1961-2011, an original method has been set up to obtain a model able to resolve the island and capture the orographic effects at best. Two successive downscaling steps have been necessary to get the limited area model ALADIN-Climat over Tahiti (at the resolution of 12 km), starting from the global coupled model CNRM-CM with a resolution of 150 km. The regional model outputs have been compared to the observed records over the historical period. A linkage between observed and modeled precipitation has been defined. This linkage has been built between meteorological stations and model grid cells exhibiting similar behaviour regarding the phases of ENSO. It has been assumed that this linkage is still relevant in the 21st century. In this way, future precipitation in Tahiti, as realistic as possible, are deduced from modeled precipitation (at 12 km of resolution), following two IPCC scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5). The El niño-like spatial structure of global warming further confirms the relevance of the linkage built previously. The results obtained concern the southern coasts of Tahiti. Rainfall would gradually increase along the 21st century, as a consequence of global warming. In Papara, the austral summer mean rainfall height is 695 mm over the period 1961-2011. The mean value, for the period 2070-2100, would be 825 mm for the scenario RCP4.5 and 814 mm for the scenario RCP8.5, let say an increase of a little less than 20%. Superimposed to this long-range raise, El niño events would induce an excess of rainfall. This effect would be reduced at the end of the 21st century in RCP8.5. Conversely, La niña events would always involve a decline of rainfall, but would not succeed in counteracting the long-range increase.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, November 4, 2014 - 9:32:45 PM
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Marania Hopuare. Changement climatique en Polynésie française détection des changements observés, évaluation des projections. Autre [q-bio.OT]. Université de la Polynésie Française, 2014. Français. ⟨NNT : 2014POLF0007⟩. ⟨tel-01080290⟩

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