Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - PREWEC (Advancing the predictability of water cycle through an improved understanding of land surface and coastal water processes ...)

Given the current uncertainty surrounding the global climate, techniques for modelling the Earth's systems are an increasingly key tool in helping mankind look for signs of change - and mitigate them. A major manifestation of Earth's climate change would be in terms of water cycling and creating new tools for gathering information and models to interpret this is crucial. With a view to contribute in excellent new ways to our understanding of land surface, atmospheric and water processes and their effect on climate change, the PREWEC team commenced their pursuit of enhancing water cycle predictability in January 2007.

Through a holistic approach linking watershed modelling, predictability of extreme events, and their effects on aquatic ecosystems, PREWEC research group has achieved a novel synthesis of multi-disciplinary research: from improving retrieval techniques for remote sensing of hydrological variables, advancing data-modelling systems for the prediction of hydrological variables and researching transport of material to the coastal zone to further our understanding of extremes on coastal biogeochemical cycles, carbon dynamics, and ecosystem functioning to the better characterization of land-vegetation-atmosphere interactions in regional and global climate models.

PREWEC's research focuses on three areas. The first is the hydro-meteorology of storms, through which the team seeks to address deficiencies in predictability by building an integrative data modelling system for the simulation of hydrologic quantities and for characterizing their uncertainty. The second area is investigating the coastal ecosystem and water pollution -connecting water cycle predictions with a variety of factors including soil erosion, wetland discharges, and terrestrial inputs of inorganic and organic matter in coastal areas. Thirdly, the team is looking at climate change in general to enhance the ability of Global Climate Models to simulate vegetation-atmosphere water flux exchanges. Finally, a new technological advancement that resulted under the framework of this project is on the underwater acoustical monitoring of sea environment.

While we have access to weather information from many media sources, scientists do not yet know enough about rainfall distribution over the oceans - rainfall patterns change over very small space- and time- scales, making limited measurements from atolls and buoys difficult to extrapolate to global scales. PREWEC advocates one means of gaining objective quantification of rainfall over oceans through the sound produced by rainfall and wind-induced waves underwater, which can be used to quantitatively measure these variables at sea.

With PREWEC funding we recently developed an acoustic recorder and completed processing data from an experiment combining deep underwater acoustic recordings of rainfall with high-resolution weather radar. Analysis of the data has shown that the signal from rainfall is easily detected under a variety of wind and noise conditions, and it is robust at depth. Moreover, we show that underwater sound signal contains a wealth of information that can be used to quantify a number of other sources beyond rain and wind (e.g., underwater gas emissions, shipping, biological activity, underwater landslides, etc.).

The project findings are disseminated through the PREWEC website and several presentations at scientific conferences, seminars and workshops. Results from this project are being integrated into the host outreach activities on water resource management in various regions of Greece - such as on the developing of a flood warning and water quality assessment in the trans-boundary river basin of Evros. Looking forward, discussions are underway to establish an experimental hydrologic observatory in Greece, based on synergistic measurements taken by PREWEC and other research programmes at the host organisation (HCMR).

Reported by

HELLENIC CENTER FOR MARINE RESEARCH
ANAVISSOS, ATTIKIS
Greece
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