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Modélisation de l'évolution paradoxale de l'hydrologie sahélienne : application au bassin d'Agoufou (Mali)

Abstract : Since the mid-twentieth century, the Sahel is characterized by a significant rainfall deficit marked by severe droughts in 1972-73 and 1983-84 that have significantly impacted ecosystems, resources and local population. The responses induced by this deficit result in opposite effects according to geographical area. If, in the Sudano-Guinean zone, a reduced surface runoff was observed, the Sahel experienced a paradoxical increase of surface runoff during the same period. Most of the studies aiming at understanding this paradoxical situation have been performed in crop-dominated areas, where the runoff increase has been attributed to land use change following population growth. However, the same phenomenon is also observed in pastoral areas where land use change cannot explain the observed hydrological changes. The objective of this thesis is to study the different processes governing Sahelian hydrology and prioritize their impact on the surface runoff evolution in pastoral areas by means of hydrological modeling. To do this, the KINEROS2 runoff model was applied to the Agoufou watershed. This endorheic watershed is located in the Gourma region, in Mali. It is instrumented by the AMMA-CATCH observatory, which provides most of the necessary data for forcing and evaluating the model. The first part of this work was dedicated to the quantification of the changes occurred over the last 50 years on the Agoufou watershed and its outlet, the Agoufou lake. Land cover maps derived from satellite images and aerial photographs for 1956 and 2011 allowed estimating the changes in surface characteristics. Erosion of shallow soil and degradation of the tiger bush vegetation in favor of the bare soil extension (35 km² between 1956 and 2011) as well as increases in drainage density (× 1.5) and in lake area (534 m² in 1956 to 2 x 106 m² in 2011) were the main changes observed. The discharge evolution over time was quantified from changes in lake's volume, computed via a relationship between the lake's surface estimated by remote sensing and in-situ water height data. This relationship was coupled to a water balance equation, taking into account precipitation, water evaporation and lake's bottom infiltration to quantify the water inflow to the lake. The runoff coefficient of the watershed was shown to increase from 0 % in the 1970s to 5.5% in the 2000s. The second part of this thesis was dedicated to hydrological modeling in order to rank the impact of the surface changes highlighted above on runoff. Series of reference and attribution simulations were performed. The increase in bare soil surfaces associated with a decrease in vegetation largely explains the hydrological changes of the watershed since the 1960s. The development of the drainage network and the crusting of sandy dunes play a less important role on this evolution, while the evolution of daily precipitation reduces runoff over time by more than 34%, which contradicts the observed trend. The mechanisms identified in the Agoufou watershed highlight the pivotal role of the dynamics of the coupled vegetation/erosion/drainage network system and their role in other Sahelian regions, where increased runoff was also observed.
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Laetitia Gal. Modélisation de l'évolution paradoxale de l'hydrologie sahélienne : application au bassin d'Agoufou (Mali). Hydrologie. Université Paul Sabatier - Toulouse III, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016TOU30341⟩. ⟨tel-01761633⟩

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