WP1 : Understanding and evaluating Mediterranean climatic changes and natural hazards

North African aquifers

The North-Western Sahara Aquifer System (NWSAS), one of the world’s largest groundwater systems, shows an overall decline associated with increasing withdrawals. Until now it was considered to be a non-renewable resource (Goncalves et al. 2013). The quantification of the present recharge will enable optimization of the management of this resource.

Tectonics of Tunisia

Our studies deal with the renewal of the concept of salt tectonics (Masrouhi et al. 2013, 2014a, 2014b) and architecture of passive margins (Gharbi et al. 2013). In parallel we undertook the re-evaluation of the structural scheme of Tunisia (Gharbi et al., 2014; 2015) and we used this structural framework as an indirect basis to establish a new seismotectonic model of Tunisia for helping to understand seismic hazards. A. Masrouhi, who is working on these themes, was invited in 2013, 2014 and 2015. He was involved in the PhD thesis supervision of M. Gharbi (CERTE, CEREGE-AMU).

Seismic risks in the Eastern Mediterranea

Three aspets are developed to investigate human-environment interactions through the study of seismic hazard and its consequences on society in the Aegean:

(1) acquiring a long record of paleo-earthquakes in specific targeted areas to assess metrics associated with the past earthquakes triggering and future repetition
(2) collecting qualitative and quantitative information on the humans stakes in the same area
(3) providing metrics of susceptibility to seismic risk allowing to define how future earthquakes may affect the socio-economic development.

To extend this approach to other high seismic risk areas in the Mediterranea, an ITN (QUAKE’N’TIME) was submitted for H2020 funding (11 European academic and 5 industrial and NGO partners involved).

Historical sea-level dynamics of the Mediterranean Sea

An innovative methodology and a database have been produced to better assess Holocene sea level changes along the Mediterranean coasts and to construct a new relative sea-level (RSL) surface, using both geological and archaeological data. The task is complex because RSL is strongly influenced by tectonic activity, especially in the Eastern basin. Nevertheless, the database is progressing and several papers have been published already (Vacchi et al. 2013, 2014; Rovere et al. 2014; Mauz et al. 2015).

Seasonal dynamics of particulate organic matter in the Rhône River

Lipid tracers in the Rhone river particulate matter reveal that organic matter is mainly associated with plant degradation and only in a lower proportion with human sources (via wastewater treatment) (Galeron et al. 2015). Unexpected importance of an autoxidation mechanism has been displayed. The question is whether this difference is due to the type of organic matter, water temperature, or geochemical influences. Next study will compare the degradation processes occurring in the Po and Ebro rivers to investigate potential general trends for all Mediterranean environments.

Climate evolution and natural risk in Morocco

Characterization of natural phenomena ((paleo)-climate, natural hazard, environmental crises) and interdisciplinary integrated methodologies (coupling the approaches used in Geosciences and the integration of Social and Human Sciences) are developed in Morocco to understand the processes, and ultimately provide a better management, of natural events and environmental risks. A first project deals with the hydrological variability in the Moroccan Middle Atlas at different spatial and temporal scales. It is conducted by six French laboratories (CEREGE, IMBE, ISEM, Geosciences Montpellier, ISTO, GEODE) and the University of Marrakech in collaboration with the LMI-TREMA Marrakech. Another project is dedicated to the study of natural hazards and risk indicators in the Mediterranean area, with three laboratories (CEREGE, LPED, Géoazur) and three Moroccan universities (Tangier-Tetouan, Marrakech, Agadir). The objective is the establishment of a methodology for integrating the approaches used in geosciences and those taking into account the societal responses in the characterization of the hazard and the associated vulnerability.