Project

Back to overview

River Floodplains

English title River Floodplains
Applicant Schirmer Mario
Number 149126
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Wasserressourcen und Trinkwasser EAWAG
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology - EAWAG
Main discipline Geology
Start/End 01.10.2013 - 30.09.2016
Approved amount 302'513.00
Show all

All Disciplines (4)

Discipline
Geology
Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Hydrology, Limnology, Glaciology
Other disciplines of Earth Sciences

Keywords (6)

River Restoration; Groundwater; River Floodplains; Hydrology; Stochastic Modelling; SW / GW Interactions

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Das Forschungsprojekt „River Floodplains“ legt die Grundlage für eine quantitative Analyse, welche Rolle das Abflussregime für Überflutungsgebiete und deren Ökosysteme spielt und wie es sich auf die ökologischen und biogeochemischen Ökosystemleistungen auswirkt. Um dieses Ziel zu erreichen, untersuchen wir, wie sich der zeitlich ändernde Abfluss auf das Verhalten des Systems Fluss - Überflutungsgebiet - Grundwasser auswirkt. Wir werden kritische Links der zugrunde liegenden Prozesse aufzeigen.
Lay summary

In der Schweiz und vielen Teilen der Welt sind Überflutungsgebiete und deren Ökosysteme von grosser Bedeutung für die Gesellschaft. Wasser ist von essentieller Bedeutung für die gesamte Umwelt. Wasser spielt eine tragende Rolle in allen physikalischen, chemischen und sozio-ökonomischen Systemen. Auf der einen Seite beeinflusst der Wasserzyklus in signifikanter Weise die klimatischen Bedingungen und reagiert selbst sehr sensitiv auf eine sich wandelnde Umwelt. Diese Rückkopplungsprozesse sind höchst komplex. Auf der anderen Seite können sich ändernde Wasserverfügbarkeiten und Extremereignisse dramatisch auf das Wassereinzugsgebiet auswirken. 

 

Das Forschungsprojekt „River Floodplains“ legt die Grundlage für eine quantitative Analyse, welche Rolle das Abflussregime für Überflutungsgebiete und deren Ökosysteme spielt und wie es sich auf die ökologischen und biogeochemischen Ökosystemleistungen auswirkt. Um dieses Ziel zu erreichen, untersuchen wir umfassend, wie sich der zeitlich ändernde Abfluss auf das Verhalten des Systems Fluss - Überflutungsgebiet - Grundwasser auswirkt. Wir werden die kritischen Links der zugrunde liegenden hydrologischen, geomorphologischen und klimatischen Prozesse aufzeigen.  

 

Die neuen Erkenntnisse dieser Forschung werden sehr hilfreich sein, um Vorhersagen unter den Bedingungen von Klimawandel machen zu können. Sie werden helfen, neue Regularien für flussnahe Ökosysteme zu entwickeln, die unter steigendem anthropogenem Druck stehen. In diesem Sinne werden die Forschungsergebnisse auch als Basis dafür dienen, die längerfristigen Ziele von Flussrevitalisierungsprojekten zu definieren. 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.09.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
What Do They Have in Common? Drivers of Streamflow Spatial Correlation and Prediction of Flow Regimes in Ungauged Locations
Betterle Andrea, Radny Dirk, Schirmer Mario, Botter Gianluca (2017), What Do They Have in Common? Drivers of Streamflow Spatial Correlation and Prediction of Flow Regimes in Ungauged Locations, in Water Resources Research, 53(12), 10354-10373.
Characterizing the spatial correlation of daily streamflows
Betterle Andrea, Schirmer Mario, Botter Gianluca (2017), Characterizing the spatial correlation of daily streamflows, in Water Resources Research, 53(2), 1646-1663.
Patterns of stream ow regimes along the river network: the case of the Thur river
Doulatyari Behnam, Betterle Andrea, Radny Dirk, Celegon E. A., Fanton Pietro, Schirmer Mario, Botter Gianluca (2017), Patterns of stream ow regimes along the river network: the case of the Thur river, in Environmental Modelling & Software, 42-58.
A physically based analytical model of flood frequency curves
Basso Stefano, Schirmer Mario, Botter Gianluca (2016), A physically based analytical model of flood frequency curves, in Geophysical Research Letters, (17), 9070-9076.
Climatic and landscape controls on effective discharge
Basso Stefano, Frascati A., Marani Marco, Schirmer Mario, Botter Gianluca (2015), Climatic and landscape controls on effective discharge, in Geophysical Research Letters, (20), 8441-8447.
On the emergence of heavy-tailed streamflow distributions
Basso Stafano, Schirmer Mario, Botter Gianluca (2015), On the emergence of heavy-tailed streamflow distributions, in ADVANCES IN WATER RESOURCES, 98-105.
Predicting streamflow distributions and flow duration curves from landscape and climate
Doulatyari Behnam, Betterle Andrea, Basso Stefano, Biswal Basudev, Schirmer Mario, Botter Gianluca (2015), Predicting streamflow distributions and flow duration curves from landscape and climate, in Advances in Water Resources, 285-298.
River flow regimes and vegetation dynamics along a river transect
Doulatyari Behnam, Basso Stefano, Schirmer Mario, Botter Gianluca (2014), River flow regimes and vegetation dynamics along a river transect, in Advances in Water Resources, 30-43.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Gianluca Botter, University of Padova Italy (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
AGU Fall Meeting 2015 Talk given at a conference River flow regimes and effective discharge 12.12.2015 San Francisco, United States of America Schirmer Mario; Basso Stefano;
Zhydro 2015 Poster River flow regimes and effective discharge for sediment transport 04.11.2015 Zurich ETH, Switzerland Basso Stefano; Schirmer Mario;
Gordon Research Conference on Catchment Science Poster Probabilistic characterization of ecohydrologic flow thresholds in seasonally dry climates 14.06.2015 Andover, United States of America Basso Stefano; Schirmer Mario;
AGU Fall Meeting 2014 Poster Dynamic hydro-climatic networks in pristine and regulated rivers 15.12.2014 San Francisco, United States of America Schirmer Mario; Basso Stefano; Doulatyari Behnam;
AGU Fall Meeting 2014 Poster Characterizing the frequency of high flows in rivers 15.12.2014 San Francisco, United States of America Schirmer Mario; Basso Stefano;
Hidroenergia 2014 Talk given at a conference Assessment of small run-of-river hydropower projects: optimal design, profitability and flow regime disturbances 21.05.2014 Istanbul, Turkey Schirmer Mario; Basso Stefano;
EGU General Assembly 2014 Talk given at a conference Hydro-economic performances of stream ow withdrawal strategies: the case of small run-of-river power plants 27.04.2014 Vienna, Austria Basso Stefano; Schirmer Mario;
AGU Fall Meeting 2013 Poster Small run-of-river hydropower: tradeoff among energy production, profitability and hydrologic impact 09.12.2013 San Francisco, United States of America Basso Stefano; Schirmer Mario;
AGU Fall Meeting 2013 Talk given at a conference River flow regimes and vegetation dynamics along a river transect 09.12.2013 San Francisco, United States of America Schirmer Mario; Doulatyari Behnam; Basso Stefano;
Zhydro 2013 Poster Small run-of-river hy- dropower: tradeoff among energy production, profitability and hydrologic impact 13.11.2013 Zurich ETH, Switzerland Basso Stefano; Schirmer Mario;


Knowledge transfer events



Self-organised

Title Date Place

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
169003 Water distribution 01.03.2017 Project funding (Div. I-III)
143688 Alpine Hydrogeology and Climate Change 01.11.2012 Project funding (Div. I-III)
125856 Riverbank filtration under climate change scenarios (RIBACLIM) 01.01.2010 NRP 61 Sustainable Water Management
125995 Groundwater resources under changing climatic conditions 01.03.2010 NRP 61 Sustainable Water Management

Abstract

Principal Investigator:Mario Schirmer, Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and TechnologyMain Collaborator:Gianluca Botter, University of Padova (Italy)1.Summary of the research planThe research program aims to lay the foundations for a quantitative analysis of the role played by streamflow regimes in shaping the ecological and biogeochemical services provided by river-floodplains and their ecosystems. In order to achieve this long-term goal, we will comprehensively investigate the impact of streamflow temporal variability on the behavior of river-floodplain-groundwater systems, showing the critical links with the underlying hydrologic, geomorphic and climatic processes. The new insight emerging from the research will be particularly useful to predict the impacts of climate change and evolving regulations on riverine ecosystems and to preserve the ecological value of fluvial systems, which are particularly valuable tasks in view of the increased anthropogenic pressure on climate and freshwaters. This would also serve as a basis to better define the long-term objectives of river restoration projects. Specifically, our investigation will be carried out by focusing on the following intertwined aspects of the eco-hydrologic functioning of river-floodplain-groundwater systems: stream habitat, stream-floodplain-groundwater connectivity, riparian vegetation and sediment transport. We will first define the role played by the shape of river cross sections in modulating the variability features of streamflows, to identify the signatures of climate/landscape attributes and river forms on stage fluctuations and stream habitat suitability for different biological populations. We shall then analyze the relevant stream-groundwater interactions, the extent of the aquatic/terrestrial transition zones (areas only temporarily flooded) and their connectivity with the main river course as a function of the streamflow regime. The implications in terms of the amount of resources coming into rivers from the adjoined floodplains will be also analyzed. The characterization of the aquatic-terrestrial interfaces in rivers will provide a basis for a quantitative description of the relationship between the stochastic character of water availability and the dynamics of riparian vegetation, whose spatial and temporal patterns strongly influence the river biodiversity. The dynamics of riparian vegetation will be analyzed with particular emphasis on the multifaced interactions between biotic (vegetation features) and abiotic factors (groundwater and soil moisture, in turn controlled by the flow regime). Later on, the impact of streamflow regimes on sediment transport will be also analyzed with the goal of providing a probabilistic characterization of the sediment load transported by rivers, with implications for river morphodynamics and stream ecology studies, as well as for reservoir management problems. The models developed in the research project explicitly include the stochastic variability of hydrologic forcings and distinguish themselves by the availability of analytical solutions, which allow for a quick but rigorous characterization of complex eco-hydrological processes. These features can be of particular interest for engineering and consulting companies, which could potentially achieve significant advantages in term of lower costs and time consumption. Therefore, an additional long-term objective of this research project is to transfer the knowledge acquired and to make the stochastic tools developed and tested available to the industry and real world applications.
-