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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2019-05-01 - 2020-04-30

The conceptual hydrological rainfall-runoff-modell COSERO is used for operational optimization purposes by the VERBUND AG. In the past, the model system has been calibrated and implement for a variety of projects and basins. Results indicated a large potential for further improvements of the modelling system. Some of them will be developed, tested and implemented within this project. Planned are 1. further development of the regionalization strategy; 2. COSERO extension to allow for Ensemble forecasts; and 3. extension of the modelling framework to allow for data assimilation of ZAMG product. This phase (phase 3) has the following objectives: - Multicriteria Evaluation - Test of the method for small catchments - Final Synthesis and Evaluation of the regionalzation method
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2019-07-01 - 2022-06-30

Due to their pristine nature remote alpine lakes are considered most valuable. Up to date the ecosystem services (ES) of alpine lakes are poorly characterized. The central aim of this 3 years project is to find out how ongoing climate change affects the function of alpine lakes and in consequence the provision of ES requiring new management advices taking climate change into account. This topic is of relevance with regard to the general understanding that in consequence to global warming those alpine lakes might experience more intense use within the near + distant future. The study design takes advantage from long-term limnological monitoring of alpine lakes located in the Northern Alps as well as in the Southern Alps. In a first step the variability of the response of these alpine lakes to global warming within the last two decades will be explored on a quantitative scale. Lake surface temperature (LST) reconstructions covering the previous decades will be validated by in situ temperature records from two decades earlier and also recorded during this project. Plankton and fish community will be analysed using modern metabarcoding techniques based on deep-amplicon sequencing. The observation period further will include data on limnological indicator organisms from sediment cores such as diatoms, chrysophytes and chironomids which have been analysed two decades ago and will now be reanalyzed for the same alpine lakes showing high variability in summer epilimnion temperature. In a second step the ES will be quantitatively assessed for lake-types defined in relation to the UN sustainability developmental goals, such as accessibility, intensity of use or sensitivity to climate change. Provisioning and regulating ES (water provision/regulation) will be quantified using census data, data from limnological measurements as well as complex modelling approaches, whereas cultural ES (i.e. aesthetic value) will be based on crowd-sourced information such as geotagged photographs suitable to assess human preferences or by specific surveys based on questionnaires. Socio-economic data (e.g. livestock feeding, fishing, tourism) will be collected. Validated LST models will allow for assessment of alpine lakes’ resistance towards disturbances which will affect the ability to maintain ES under potential impacts of climate change such as the IPCC “business as usual” scenario and the UN climate conference COP21 goal. In a third step the ES provided by those lakes will be evaluated using multi criteria decision analysis (MCDA) comparing representative lakes of defined lake-types in both model regions. This will include (i) defining the most important ES through an experts' round table, (ii) a pair-wise questionnaire for ecosystem services weighing to be compiled by local stakeholders from various interest groups, (iii) Attribution of ES indicators and (iv) Performance of MCDA. The ES management under a scenario of climate change as described above will be addressed through comparative ES evaluation for the near and more distant future. Finally policy recommendations to facilitate future ES management in order to guarantee sustainable ES provision will be elaborated and presented.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2019-02-01 - 2023-01-31

Is sustainable intensification possible in Austria? To answer this question a modelling framework of an agent-based model (ABM) linked to an eco-hydrological model to determine sustainable cropping practices will be developed. The drivers of crop land use change will be collected and quantified for production regions belonging to an intensive agricultural landscape type. By applying the drivers together with different policy boundary conditions to an ABM, land use scenarios can be developed. These will be input into an eco-hydrological model concurrently with climate change simulations. From the resulting eco-hydrological simulations, quantifying the simulated yields together with alterations to surface water quality indicate future land use and management practices that can achieve sustainable intensification. To establish the drivers of local land use, farmers in three cropped regions in Austria will be questioned on their influencing factors to change crops (financial and non-financial factors). These drivers for the specific agricultural landscape (intensive cropping systems in developed mid-latitude regions) will be integrated into an ABM developed at the Institute of Social Ecology (SEC). Existing EU and regional policies (e.g. Common Agricultural Policy, European Water Framework Directive) will be used as conditions for guiding future crop landscape development to the period 2050. By providing the ABM with changes in boundary conditions, agents in the model (especially farmers) will take corresponding actions that affect the land use. The spatially distributed land use maps for each simulation will be used as an input for an eco-hydrological model. To determine a more complete set of potential future changes, each land use scenario will be applied in turn with one climate change simulation to the eco-hydrological model (modelling period 2040-2070, using a suite of climate simulations). A comparison of simulated yields with the nitrate and phosphorus loads will enable selecting scenarios with highest yields and lowest nutrient losses. The outcomes will enhance understanding of human influences on nutrient flows from land to water. ALUCSI represents an important step for building Austrian capacity on land use change impacts to water quality, and furthermore bridges the social and natural sciences.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations