Advancing the predictability of water cycle through an improved understanding of land surface and coastal water processes and optimal integration of models with observational data-PreWec.
The PreWec Project is a Marie Curie Excellence Grant funded under the EU Sixth Framework Programme.
The research team of PreWEC focused on three major areas in their pursuit of enhancing water cycle predictability. These are:
- Hydro-meteorology of storms – where the team is seeking to address deficiencies in predictability by building an integrative data modelling system for the simulation of hydrologic quantities and characterising their uncertainty,
- Coastal ecosystem & water pollution – where the team is researching innovative approaches connecting water cycle predictions with soil erosion, wetland discharges, terrestrial inputs of inorganic/organic matter in coastal areas, water pollution and the effects on coastal ecosystem structure and dynamics,
- Climate change in general – where the team is seeking to enhance the ability of Global Climate Models (GCM) to simulate vegetation-atmosphere water flux exchanges
In relation to the project’s first subject area (hydrometeorology), we have investigated the effect of forcing the land surface scheme of an atmospheric mesoscale model with remotely sensed precipitation datasets. The goal of this research is to provide improved surface conditions for the atmospheric model in order to achieve accurate simulations of the mesoscale circulations that can significantly affect timing, distribution and intensity of convective precipitation. Secondly, we have investigated the use of satellite rainfall for hydrological applications. This research focuses on three hydrological problems: the prediction of flash floods in complex terrain environment, estimation of soil moisture variability for model initialization and the prediction of large-scale floods for major river basins. Thirdly, we advanced underwater acoustical monitoring of sea environment. Specifically, we developed a new technique for quantifying rainfall and wind speed over oceans through the sound produced by rainfall and wind-induced waves underwater. The last subject of this task was to investigate how significant is the effect of high-resolution topographic data on simulating the hydrologic response during complex terrain flash-flood events.
In relation to the project’s second subject area (coastal ecosystem/pollution), an extensive field measurement and monitoring program was performed, focusing on water resources, pollution pressures, inland and coastal water quality and relations to hydrologic conditions, biogeochemical processes, and anthropogenic influences. Among our objectives was assessing the major pollution pressures in the studied systems and examine the effects of anthropogenic activities and changes in watershed characteristics on the sources, composition, and cycling of carbon and nutrients along the continuum of river, wetland, and coastal zone. A comprehensive and detailed database (i.e. physico-chemical, optical, biological, biogeochemical, hydrological parameters) has been created, which fills critical gaps in current knowledge related to the sources, transformation and fate of organic compounds, nutrients and pollutants in coastal E. Mediterranean ecosystems.
In relation to the project’s third subject area (climate change), first, we investigated the impact of precipitation and canopy water storage sub-grid variability on climate model simulations. The team has shown that including sub-grid variability reduces the interception loss and increases the plant transpiration, with the total evapotranspiration (latent heat flux) staying more or less the same.