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Seminar series

Seminar series of the Vienna Doctoral Programme on Water Resource Systems




The Doctoral Programme is privileged to host international experts from the wide variety of disciplines covered by Programme researchers. Here you find the details of past and future seminars.


Date: Tuesday, 3rd March, 2020, 16:30-17:45 s.t.

Venue: BOKU Vienna, Muthgasse 11, SR 12

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Markus Disse, TU Munich, Germany

Title: Flash floods in Bavaria: Recording, Exploring, Evaluating - The Project HiOS


Abstract: The HiOS (Hinweiskarte Oberflächenabfluss & Sturzflut) project has been commissioned by the Bavarian Environment Agency in August 2017. The aim of the research project is the development of a procedure for the hazard  evaluation and classification of the Bavarian municipalities from surface runoff and flash floods. Using a GIS application, factors that promote or trigger surface runoff and flash floods are queried, linked, and evaluated. The results are then presented for four different precipitation scenarios in a Bavarian reference map. The reference map for surface runoff and flash floods is intended to provide first indications of possible hazards and aims at supporting further detailed investigations.




Date: Tuesday, 21st January, 2020, 16:30-17:45 s.t.

Venue: TU Wien, HS 13, Karlsplatz 13 (Main building, Staircase VII)

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Christophe Cudennec, INRA, Agrohydrology, Rennes Cedex, France

Title: Flexible geomorphology-based hydrological modelling    




Date: Tuesday 8 October, 2019, 16:30-17:45 s.t.

Venue: TU Wien, HS 6, Karlsplatz 13 (Main building, ground floor, between staircase  II and VIII)

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Keith Beven, Lancaster University, Lancaster Environment Centre, United Kingdom

Title: Hypothesis testing and model invalidation in hydrology


Abstract: After some background about what I have learned from a career in hydrological modelling, I present some opinions about how we might make progress in improving hydrological models in future including how to decide whether a model should be rejected as invalid; how to improve process representations in hydrological models; how to take advantage of Models of Everywhere. Underlying all those issues, however, is the fundamental problem of improving the information content of hydrological data so that hypothesis testing and model invalidation can be applied more rigorously than they have been in the past. The issues are illustrated by an assessment of the use of event runoff coefficients for model invalidation.    




Date: Tuesday 4 June, 2019, 16:30-17:45 s.t.

Venue: BOKU Vienna, Muthgasse 11, SR 12

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Thomas Foken, Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research, University of Bayreuth, Germany

Title: Current progress in measuring and estimating evapotranspiration.


Abstract: Humidity measurements are known from ancient times in China, and 500 years ago Leonardo da Vinci proposed possible instruments that were, physically considered, evaporation sensors. However, even  today there is no instrument available that can be easily used to measure potential or actual  evapo(transpi)ration. Possible instruments are the lysimeter (actual) or class-A-pan (potential), providing the  very local measurements can be transferred to a larger area. More practicable is the so-called eddy-covariance technique or modeling with a (modified) PenmanMonteith approach. The eddy-covariance technique is well established and is in used in several ecological networks. There are nevertheless some open questions, such as the flow distortion correction of the sensor or the problem of the so-called unclosed energy balance. Much progress has been made in recent years. Although the problems are much better understood, a final solution is still missing and an awareness of the problems is highly important for the hydrological application of these measurements. The Penman-Monteith approach is part of many models but has some shortcomings, like the choice of the  plant parameters and the coupling to the atmosphere with the Monin-Obukhov similarity theory. This is a fundamental theory, but over vegetated surfaces is only valid in very shallow layers. To overcome these problems, standard solutions of the model are available to allow comparison of the evaporation potential of different surfaces and climate regions. The approaches of the FAO and the ASCE are well known. The measurements are nearly point measurements. Knowledge of the contribution of the target area in the footprint of the measurements is important. A transformation of these measurements to a catchment or other larger areas is possible through a combination of measurements and modeling or by assuming similarities of different land cover types. The direct determination offers the possibility of determining all terms of the water balance without any residual term. Such calculations are essential under the conditions of climate change to quantify the water flux into the atmosphere or the water storage in the ground. In conclusion, there is no simple way to measure or to model the evapotranspiration. The problem remains a challenge for hydrologists, soil scientists and meteorologists.    




Date: Tuesday 21 May, 2019, 16:30-17:45 s.t.

Venue: TU Wien, SR 212-232, Karlsplatz 13 (Main building, 3rd floor, staircase II)

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg Vogel, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Halle, Germany

Title: Scales in soil hydrology and the myth of hydraulic equilibrium.


Abstract: Soil hydrology is a key control for the functioning of the terrestrial environment. Many environmental issues that we need to tackle today are directly linked to soil water dynamics. This includes agricultural production and food security, nutrient cycling and carbon storage, prevention of soil degradation and erosion, and last but not least clean water resources and flood protection. However, these problems need to be addressed at scales of fields, regions and landscapes while soil water dynamics and soil hydraulic properties are well understood and typically measured at much smaller scales – the comfort zone of soil physics. An obvious problem is how to link these vastly different scales and how to profit from small scale understanding to improve our capability to predict what is going on at the large scale. In this presentation the phenomenology of soil water dynamics along the cascade of scales is discussed with special emphasize on "effective" properties and the assumption of hydraulic equilibrium which is typically required but rarely met in real soil. As a synthesis, a two-step scaling approach is proposed for modelling soil water dynamics from local to landscape scales where the scale of the soil profile is the stepping stone.     ------------




Date:      Tuesday 29 Jan, 2019, 16:30-17:45 s.t.

Venue:    TU Wien, HS 6, Karlsplatz 13 (Main building, ground floor, between staircase II and VIII)

Speaker: Dr. Loes van Schaik, TU Berlin, Germany

Title:       Spatiotemporal variability in preferential flow from plot to catchment scale: The influence of soil organisms.


Abstract: Slow matrix flow and rapid by-pass, i.e. preferential flow, result in a large spatial variability of infiltration and percolation of water in the topsoil. Preferential infiltration often takes place through biopores, i.e. macropores of biological origin such as earthworm burrows and root channels. As the density of these biopores depends on the activity of the creating organisms, there is also a clear temporal variability in preferential flow. The spatiotemporal infiltration variability in the topsoil determines the distribution of precipitation water to surface runoff, soil moisture storage and rapid percolation to groundwater. Measurement of quantitative indicators for preferential flow and conversion to input parameters for hydrological modelling remain major difficulties in modelling the impact of preferential flow. We suggest that species distributions, as protagonists in soil structure formation, and the temporal variability in their activity may be used as proxies for the spatial and temporal parameterizations of hydrological models. I will present results of large integrated field campaigns where we measured the abundance of earthworms and biopores and the resulting infiltration processes at different spatial and temporal scales. Subsequently I will explain how this information is used for the parameterization of hydrological models and give an overview of the current challenges in this field.



Date:       Wednesday 21 November, 2018, 12:00 s.t.


Venue:     TU Wien, Inst. f. Wasserbau, Taubstummengasse 11, 4th floor, 1040 Wien

Speaker:Prof. Christel Prudhomme, European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts

Title:        Continental-scale flood awareness systems: examples from EFAS and GloFAS




Date:       Tuesday 6 Nov, 2018, 16:30-17:45 s.t.


Venue:     TU Wien, Wiedner Hauptstr. 8-10, FH HS 6-Freihaus, Turm A (grün), 1.+2. OG

Speaker:  Univ. Prof. Dr. Günter Blöschl, TU Vienna, Austria

Title:        Is finer better? Challenges with Model Complexity in Hydrology


Abstract: Modelling the flow of rivers in the landscape is needed for environmental planning, such as flood risk design, and real time control, such as operation of hydropower plants. Unlike many other systems in engineering, the water flow in the landscape is the compound result of both natural and anthropogenic system components, which are difficult to specify due to the vast heterogeneity of the Earth system. These issues make the modelling of river flow challenging. An outstanding question is what level of detail or model complexity is appropriate for differen hydrological modelling problems. This presentation will outline advances in framing such systems in terms of tradeoffs between model complexity and identifiability, given the information available in any one case. The presentation will also present strategies to parameter estimation of high resolution, hydrological models. The concepts will be illustrated by examples from flood modelling for various purposes in Austria.





Date:       Tuesday 17 Apr, 2018 at 16:30 s.t.

Venue:     TU Wien, Gusshausstr. 25-29, Lecture room El 4 (Reithoffer Hörsaal), 1040 Vienna

Speaker:  Prof Dr Michael Lehning, SLF Davos, Switzerland

Title:        Why we don't know how much it is snowing in the mountains and  how we can learn it?


Abstract: Mountains heavily influence precipitation formation through large scale lifting, local convection and seeder-feeder effects. Highly turbulent flows in steep terrain modify local fall velocities and lead to preferential deposition of snow. Once on the ground, the snow often remains mobile and is transported by the wind. All these processes together lead to a very complex snow distribution on the ground, which can be measured with modern remote sensing methods such as laser scanners or photogrammetry. Local bucket precipitation measurements are on the other hand unreliable and unrepresentative. In my presentation, I report on our work to use atmospheric and snow modelling to link observed ground snow distribution to precipitation formation in the atmosphere. Through very high resolution WRF modelling, which is evaluated against radar precipitation measurements, we show how local precipitation enhancement and preferential deposition influence snow deposition. The work contributes to more reliably estimate total precipitation in high mountains with implications for hydrology, meteorology and natural hazards forecasting.




Date:       Tuesday 23 Jan, 2018 at 16:30 s.t.

Venue:     TU Wien, Karlsplatz 13, Hörsaal 13 (Ernst Melan Hörsaal), 1040 Vienna

Speaker:  Prof. Dr. Sabine Attinger, Helmholtz-Centre of Environmental Research (UFZ) Leipzig, Germany

Title:        Catchment Scale Flow and Transport: Selecting Model Complexity and using Parametrization

               and Scaling Methods to develop robust and efficient Model.


Abstract: Demanding applications have led to Increasing requirements for hydrological models during the previous decades. Much research has been and is still devoted to improve local process understanding. Conceptualizing the more and more complex local process understanding in regional scale models leads to increasingly complex models that need more data and more computational resources. Overcomplexity and a large number of unknown parameters characterize these models at regional scales limiting their predictive power. On the other hand, the model must not be too simple in terms of process complexity to represent the observed phenomena or too coarse in its spatial or temporal resolution to represent region-specific characteristics. The consequence is again limited predictive power of the models. In turn, most regional hydrological models have either a parametrization (data) problem or an accuracy (complexity) problem. The central challenge therefore is how to find a good comprise between accuracy and robustness of hydrological models.




Date:       Friday 24 Nov, 2017 at 10:15 s.t.

Venue:     Room BA 02B (Getreidemarkt, Chemie Hochhaus), Technical University Vienna

Speaker:  Dr. Kata Farkas, Bangor University, Wales

Title:        The secret life of enteric viruses in the water environment


Abstract: Human enteric viruses, such as noroviruses, rotaviruses or adenoviruses, are the lead cause of gastroenteritis globally. Enteric viruses are rapidly propagated in the digestive system and hence large number of viruses are excreted by infected individuals for a period ranging from a few days to several months. As a result, high concentrations of viruses can be found in wastewater. These viruses are highly resistant to traditional wastewater treatment procedures and persistent in environmental waters, and hence frequently contaminate drinking water sources, recreational and irrigation waters or shellfish harvesting areas, leading to waterborne and foodborne outbreaks. Although the risk of waterborne illness is well known, the direct detection of enteric viruses in wastewater, surface or groundwater is not mandatory and currently no standardized method is available for the detection and quantification of pathogenic viruses in water. Hence very little is known of the fate and behavior of enteric viruses in water. In this talk I will summarize our results on the fate of enteric viruses in the environment using data derived from the extensive surveillance of viruses from source to catchment. The data can be applied to inform predictive models for the transport of enteric viruses in water and to improve current viral risk assessment.




Date:       Tuesday 31 Oct, 2017 at 16:30 s.t.

Venue:     TU Wien, Karlsplatz 13, Prechtlsaal, Ground floor, 1040 Vienna

Speaker:  Dr. Jery R. Stedinger, Cornell University

Title:        Innovations in the new US flood Frequency Analysis Guidelines (Bulletin 17C)


Abstract: Prof. Stedinger has been a developer of flood frequency methods that have been adopted in the forthcoming US Federal Guidelines (Bulletin 17C), for flood frequency analysis in the United States, see also acwi.gov/hydrology/Frequency/b17c/index.html. The Hydrologic Frequency Analysis Workgroup (HFAWG) has spent the last decade testing and improving analysis methods adopted by the new guidelines. Problems in arid areas (such as California) were a particular focus. An overview will provide motivation for the revisions. Specific differences between Bulletin 17B and 17C will be discussed including the Expected Moment Algorithm (EMA), treatment of historical and threshold data, Potentially influential low flood (PILF), and uncertainty analysis calculations. Two recent USGS regional skew studies for California provided dramatically improved models of log-space regional skew (annual maximum and d-day rainfall maximums) and revealed interesting characteristics of California flood hydrology. Talk will end with Q & A session.




Date:       Tuesday 24 Oct, 2017 at 16:30 s.t.

Venue:     TU Wien, Karlsplatz 13, HS 13 (Ernst Melan HS), 2nd floor, 1040 Vienna

Speaker:  Prof. Britta Schmalz, TU Darmstadt, Germany

Title:        Hydrological research in small research basins


Abstract: Studies in small hydrological research basins covering long-term measurement data with high resolution help to understand the hydrological processes in the catchment, to develop and test hydrological models and to depict changes of climate, land use, water and land management. They provide valuable contributions for teaching, research and environmental questions and investigations. This presentation shows and compares methods and approaches from the lowland catchment Kielstau in Northern Germany (50 km²) and the low mountain range catchment Fischbach (38 km²) in Central Germany. Selected results from continuous monitoring, measurement campaigns and modelling approaches are presented. Some of the research questions are: How to depict the spatial and temporal variability of water and sediment balance? What spatial and temporal resolution is needed and available as precipitation input data to model heavy rainfall events.




Date:       Thursday 12 Oct, 2017 at 16:15 s.t.

Venue:     TU Wien, Karlsplatz 13, Seminar room 212-232, 3rd floor, 1040 Vienna

Speaker:  Prof. Siegfried Demuth, UNESCO International Centre for Water Resources and Global Change,


Title:        Addressing Global Water Challenges and Contributing to Sustainable Development through

                UNESCO's International Hydrological Program


Abstract: Beyond water’s functions in the hydrological cycle, it has social, economic and environmental values, and is essential for sustainable development. Unprecedented population growth, a changing climate, rapid urbanization, expansion of infrastructure, migration, land conversion and pollution translate into changes in the fluxes, pathways and stores of water – from rapidly melting glaciers to the decline of groundwater due to overexploitation. Population density and per capita resource use have increased dramatically over the past century, and watersheds, aquifers and the associated ecosystems have undergone significant modifications that affect the vitality, quality and availability of the resource. Current United Nations predictions estimate that the world population will reach 9 billion people in 2050. This exponential growth in population – a major driver of energy consumption and anthropogenic climate change – is also the key driver behind hydrologic change and its impacts. Arid and semi-arid areas face the greatest pressure to deliver and manage freshwater resources globally. By the mid-1990s, some 40 percent of the world’s populations were suffering water shortages. In less than 25 years, two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in waterstressed countries. More than half of the world’s population relies on the freshwater that accumulates in mountainous regions. These areas are under pressure from deforestation, agriculture and tourism, all of which are placing unsustainable demands on water. The quality and quantity of freshwater from rivers, lakes, groundwater, soil moisture, and ice is under stress around the world. Water pollution is a serious global problem which impacts the health of freshwater systems and the people who rely on them for water. Many major rivers no longer consistently make it to the ocean; hundreds of meters of decline in fossil groundwater sources are now endemic in some of the largest and most productive aquifers in the world; and pollution has dramatically impacted the aquatic habitat in many of the world’s prized water bodies. Since these changes are a global problem, a response to its impacts must also be international. No single institution or country can face these challenges alone, but UNESCO provides a unique cross-disciplinary forum for addressing these issues. It can foster the necessary international cooperation to bring all players together, whether they are governments, research institutions, universities, UN agencies, NGOs, and national or international organizations. The mission of the International Centre for Water Resources and Global Change is to support the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) of UNESCO, strengthen the scientific understanding of these impacts on water systems and to link scientific findings to policies for promoting sustainable management of water resources. The talk will not only present some of the major programs of UNESCO’s water programs and their relevance for a sustainable development but also will discuss some of the major achievements.    




Date:       Friday 06 Oct, 2017 at 11:00 s.t.

Venue:     TU Wien, Taubstummengasse 11, 4th floor, 1040 Vienna

Speaker:  Dr. Ronald W. Harvey, National Research Program, U.S. Geological Survey, Boulder, CO USA

Title:        The importance of the nature of dissolved organic carbon and the top few cm below the

                sediment-water interface in removing pathogens during engineered- and natural- bank



Abstract: Efficient transport of water across the surface water-groundwater (SW-GW) interface and underlying sediments is important to the effectiveness of bank-filtration operations, as is the removal of surface water pathogens. In this seminar, the efficacy of the top few cm of bottom sediments in removing microorganisms will be discussed in the context of both natural- and engineered-bank filtration. Also discussed will be the importance of both the amount and nature of the dissolved organic carbon in pathogen transport through bottom sediments, surface water microorganisms (as determined through use of Illumina Mi-SEQ 16S rDNA sequencing) that could be useful in determining whether well water collected downgradient needs to be classified as “groundwater-under-the-direct-influence” of surface water, and methods development that led to controlled injection-and-recovery studies examining colloid/solute transport across surface water-groundwater interfaces. The two sites employed in the field studies were Ashumet Pond, a kettle pond (flow-through groundwater lake) in Cape Cod, Massachusetts USA that recharges a sole-source, sandy, drinking-water aquifer, and the Russian River bank filtration site (Santa Rosa, California USA) that relies on poorly sorted bottom sediments that are very high in aluminum and iron for removing pathogens.    




Date:       Friday 30 Jun, 2017 at 10:00 s.t.

Venue:     TU Wien, Seminar Room BA 02B (Building BA – High-rise Getreidemarkt 9; second floor), 1060 Vienna

Speaker:  Dr. Matthew E. Verbyla, ETH Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland

Title:        The Global Water Pathogen Project


Abstract: The Global Water Pathogen Project (GWPP) provides comprehensive updated reference material on waterborne pathogens and risks from excreta and wastewater. GWPP has established a collaboration network with 158 contributors (48% women) from 46 different countries. Under the leadership of Michigan State University and UNESCO’s International Hydrological Program, GWPP is publishing this reference material in a reference book which includes a state-of-the-art review of waterborne pathogens, indicators, and the efficacy of sanitation technologies, to support the use of a quantitative risk-based approach to water and sanitation safety planning. With support from information technology company and big data expert AgroKnow, the book is being disseminated as an open-access online resource (www.waterpathogens.org). Part I of the GWPP book provides an overview of health hazards of excreta. Part II reviews basic concepts of fecal indicators and source tracking markers. Part III includes updated information on the environmental and epidemiological aspects of excreted pathogens. Part IV includes a review of pathogen persistence in the environment and their reduction or removal in sanitation and disinfection systems. Finally, Part V provides case studies using the information from Parts I through IV. As of May 2017, 17% of the GWPP content is published, 14% has been peer-reviewed and is in the process of being published, and 34% of the content has summaries available. This presentation will focus on the reduction of pathogens in several different types of sanitation technologies.    




Date:       Tuesday 30 May, 2017 at 10:00 s.t.

Venue:     TU Wien, Seminar room Taubstummengasse 11, 4th Floor, 1040 Vienna

Speaker:  Dr. Ben van den Akker, Senior Wastewater Research Scientist at the South Australian Water


Title:        Pathogen validation of water treatment barriers - Supporting risk management of water

               treatment plants


Abstract: To protect the health of people, water treatment technologies used in potable water and water recycling plants need to meet various treatment performance criteria. Most important are Health Based Targets (HBT) which defines the level of treatment (pathogen log removal) required for multiple barrier systems to ensure risk benchmarks are not exceeded. Validation of individual unit treatment process is often required to demonstrate that the treatment plant can achieve HBT for a range of reference pathogens. This involves a full-scale testing program that quantifies the reduction of native pathogens, their surrogates, or challenge-spiked organisms within a defined operational envelope, and brings together plant operators, microbiologists, scientists, process engineers and regulators. Australia is recognised internationally for the adoption of risk-based guidelines where validation is an integral component of the risk management process. This presentation will highlight the emerging role of pathogen validation for water utilities to better understand and manage pathogen risks, the economic benefits, and how validation is being extended to characterise the consequence of process failures and inform future treatment directions and capital expenditure. This presentation will also cover the role of statistics and need for improved method development.    




Date:       Thursday 04 May, 2017 at 14:00 s.t.

Venue:     TU Wien, Hörsaal 14, Karlsplatz 13, 1040 Vienna

Speaker:  Margarita Saft, Research Fellow, Department of Infrastructure Engineering, School of

                Engineering, The University of Melbourne, Australia

Title:        International investigation of climate-runoff response long-term dynamics


Abstract: This talk will present recent results from an empirical investigation into the variability of climate-runoff relationships on interannual to interdecadal timescales. Previous research in south-eastern Australia revealed that some catchments are prone to shift their functioning under prolonged change in climatic conditions such as a decade-long drought. The current study extends the scale of analysis internationally by including North American and European catchments. The frequency, direction and extent of shifts in climate-streamflow relationship vary between different regions, and we discuss what these differences might be related to. The outcomes of this analysis have implications for long term water resource assessment and management.    




Date:       Tuesday 07 March, 2017 at 16:30 s.t.

Venue:     TU Wien, Hörsaal 6, Karlsplatz 13, 1040 Vienna

Speaker:  Univ.Prof. Dr. Andreas Lang, University of Salzburg, Austria

Title:        The Anthropocene of European river basin


Abstract: A new geological Era is currently being coined to highlight the importance of human modification of global bio-geochemical cycles: The Anthropocene. The term was brought to wide attention by Paul Crutzen (2002) and has since created an exceptional scientific debate with the most contested issue being the starting point of such an Era. Viewpoints differ widely putting the start as far back as 40 000 years when looking at changes in biota or as recent as 70 years ago when focusing on the release of artificial radionuclides.

River systems form the arteries of the global bio-geochemical cycles and thus carry a pivotal role also in this debate. In the presentation, evidence from European river systems will be reviewed where anthropogenic impact goes back millennia. Focus will be on human modification of the sediment flux through river basins both, intentional alterations like engineering measures as well as unintentional changes to sediment mobilization, sediment routing and storage. At least since the Iron Age have river systems been significantly transformed from their 'natural stage'; many operating now in a non-analog anthropogenic mode. Besides contributing to current debate also implications for defining reference conditions (e.g. as envisaged by the EU water framework directive) will be discussed.    




Date:       Wednesday 18 Jan, 2017 at 09:00 s.t.

Venue:     Seminar room BA 02B, 2nd floor, Getreidemarkt 9, 1060 Vienna

Speaker:  Tanja Shabarova, PhD, Department of Aquatic Microbial Ecology, Institute of Hydrobiology,

                Biology Centre CAS, Czech Republic

Title:        Looking for Stability: Insight into Microbial Ecology and Dynamics in Subsurface Karst Pools


Abstract: Karst is a widespread landscape important for water conduction and storage. Karst pools are ubiquitous in vadose (unsaturated) and epiphreatic (periodically flooded) zones of caves and represent a special type of relatively stable aquatic environment providing the simplified insight in the understudied karst ecosystem. Seventeen vadose pools fed by dripping water from seven different caves were studied to define the main factors driving microbial composition in these unique habitats. Microbial diversity could be explained best by dissolved organic carbon concentration and conductivity. Some specific differences in chemical composition were connected with the presence of small number of bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs). The regionality at very local level affected positively the similarity between bacterial community, but not even one common OTU was detected in all studied pools. However, the most cosmopolitan OTUs were mainly connected to cave environment. Epiphreatic pools influenced by very dynamic karst conduit system were used to test the hypothesis that microorganisms introduced during floods faced environmental filtering toward a ‘typical’ karst water community. Additionally, we investigated whether dissolved organic matter (DOM) composition was related to floodings and the residence time of water in stagnant pools. Longer water residence consistently led to a decline of bacterial diversity. Beta-Proteobacterial OTUs were mainly responsible for the changes in microbial community during residence time in the pools and were mostly affiliated with genotypes previously detected in karst. In contrast, several Cytophagaceae and Flavobacteriaceae OTUs were related to different floodings, which were also the main determinants of DOM composition. Moreover, there was a transformation of DOM in stagnant pools toward smaller and more aromatic compounds, potentially also reflecting microbial utilization. Thus, these two studies allowed us to draw connections between microbial ecology, chemistry and hydrology due to reduction of complexity typical for this environment.    




Date:       Monday 16 Jan, 2017 at 11:00 s.t.

Venue:     Seminarraum 222/1, Abteilung Wasserbau, Stiege 1, 3rd floor, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  Dr. John Crawford, United States Geological Survey, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Title:        Spatial Variability of Carbon Gases and other Biogeochemistry in Large Rivers


Abstract: Inland waters are major sources of carbon gases (CO2 and CH4) to the atmosphere and are a significant component of continental carbon budgets. However, because gases are only in solution for short periods of time, their spatial variability challenges our ability to estimate emissions for large rivers (and rivers in general). This presentation will feature high-frequency spatial measurements of carbon gases and other related biogeochemistry in the Mississippi River and the Columbia River of the USA, each dataset covering between 500 and 1300 km of river length. While both of these large rivers have undergone transformations from damming and water infrastructure, and are both impacted by elevated nutrient concentrations from agriculture and human land use, patterns of spatial variability and the underlying biogeochemical controls appear to be quite different. The Mississippi River exhibits much higher spatial variability than the Columbia River, partly due to differences in impoundment size and tributary influences. Overall, we can conclude that changes in primary productivity, sediments, light penetration, and water residence times have altered carbon cycling, but to differing degrees depending on geography. Somewhat surprisingly, these data suggest that large, human-modified rivers may not actually be as large of sources of CO2 as previously thought, whereas CH4 emissions are likely larger. These results should soon be placed into a larger framework considering changes to rivers globally.    




Date:       Tuesday 06 Dec, 2016 at 16:30 s.t.

Venue:     Seminarraum 222/1, Abteilung Wasserbau, Stiege 1, 3rd floor, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  Prof. Dr. Axel Bronstert, University of Potsdam, Germany

Title:        The Braunsbach Flash-Flood: Analysis, possible human Impacts and consequences


Abstract: The flash-flood in Braunsbach in the north-eastern part of Baden-Wuerttemberg was a particularly concise event of the floods in southern Germany at the end of May / early June 2016. The extreme runoff event with great debris transport caused immense damage in the village. In this presentation, the event is retrospectively analyzed with regard to meteorology, hydrology, geomorphology and damage to obtain a quantitative assessment of the processes and their development. For this purpose, rain station data and radar data from the German Weather Service were analyzed, maximum discharge volumes during the event were estimated, hydrographs of nearby gauging stations were evaluated, volumes of land-slides and deposited debris were estimates and damage to houses were assessed. The results show that it was a very rare rainfall event with extreme intensities, which in combination with catchment properties led to extreme runoff, causing geomorphological hazards, too. Due to the complex and interacting processes, no single flood cause can be identified, since only the interplay of those lead to such an event. The presentation ends with elaborating the role of various human activities on the origin and/or intensification of such an extreme event.    




Date:       Wednesday 25 May, 2016 at 16:00 s.t.

Venue:     Seminarraum 222/1, Abteilung Wasserbau, Stiege 1, 3rd floor, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  Prof. Zoltán Gribovszki, University of West Hungary

Title:        Diel Signal in Soil Moisture, Groundwater and Streamflow


Abstract: Diel fluctuations of hydrological variables (e.g. soil moisture, shallow groundwater level, streamflow rate) are comparatively rarely investigated in the hydrologic literature although these short-term fluctuations may incorporate useful information for the characterization of hydro-ecological systems. The fluctuations can be induced by several factors like (a) alternating processes of freezing and thawing; (b) early afternoon rainfall events in the tropics; (c) changes in streambed hydraulic conductivity triggered by temperature variations, and; (d) diurnal cycle of water uptake by the vegetation. In temperate climates, one of the most important diel fluctuation-inducing factors is the water consumption of vegetation, therefore a detailed overview is provided on the history of such research. Beside a systematic categorization of the relevant historical studies, models that calculate groundwater evapotranspiration from diel fluctuations of soil moisture, groundwater level and streamflow rate have been reviewed. Compared to traditional evapotranspiration estimation methods these approaches may excel in that they generally employ a small number of parameters to measure, are typically simple to use, and yet can yield results even on a short time-scale (i.e., hours).    




Date:       Tuesday 24 May, 2016 at 16:30 s.t.

Venue:     Seminarraum 222/1, Abteilung Wasserbau, Stiege 1, 3rd floor, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  Prof. Olaf A. Cirpka, University of Tübingen, Germany

Title:        The quest of the bottleneck - controls of bioreactive transport in the subsurface


Abstract: Groundwater resources are the major source of drinking water in most countries. In Central Europe, drinking water production from groundwater is threatened by anthropogenic pollutant input. While contaminant degradation in the subsurface is known to be predominantly catalyzed by microorganisms, abiotic processes most often control the efficiency of biodegradation. Such abiotic controls include (1) lacking mixing of solutes by transverse dispersion in the case of continuously emitted contaminant plumes, and (2) the release of reactants from the aquifer matrix.

While modeling the details of microbial dynamics can be quite complex, the abiotic controls make them less relevant, at least for degradation facilitating biomass growth and longer time periods of contaminant exposure.

The seminar talk presents concepts of simplifying the descriptions of bioreactive transport by concentrating on the bottlenecks of the overall system behavior. The conceptual simplifications facilitate stochastic analysis of such systems by Monte Carlo methods in order to address spatial variability of aquifer properties and uncertainty in parameters, forcings, and model choices.    




Date:       Monday 25 April, 2016 at 17:00 s.t.

Venue:     Seminarraum 222, Stiege 1, 3rd floor, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  Dr. Murray Peel, The University of Melbourne

Title:        Long-term streamflow projections: A summary of recent results from the Millennium Drought


Abstract: The recent Millennium Drought in South-Eastern Australia (1997 – 2009) was a 13-year extended dry period during which unusual catchment responses with significant implications for long-term streamflow projections were observed. In just over half of the catchments investigated a statistically significant downward shift in the long-term annual rainfall-runoff relationship was observed. Here I present a summary of recent results using the Millennium Drought as an observed case study of a prolonged dry period to investigate actual catchment response and hydrologic model performance during the drought. I draw conclusions from these results relevant to future long-term streamflow projections.


About the speaker: Dr Murray Peel is a Senior Research Fellow and ARC Future Fellow in the Department of Infrastructure Engineering at the University of Melbourne. He obtained his PhD (Geography) in 1999 from the University of Melbourne as part of the CRC for Catchment Hydrology. His hydrologic research and consulting activities at the University of Melbourne have produced over 85 publications, including 42 articles in international peer-reviewed journals and 8 book chapters. His research interests include catchment hydrology, hydroclimatology, hydrologic impacts of climate change and land use change, improving techniques for hydrologic prediction under changing conditions and understanding global differences in the inter-annual variability of annual runoff.    




Date:       Tuesday 15 March, 2016 at 16:30 s.t.

Venue:     Seminarraum 222, Stiege 1, 3rd floor, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  Dr. habil. Laurent Pfister, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology

Title:        Innovation in environmental monitoring: on the potential for new tracers and instruments to shed new light on the spatial and temporal variability of hydrological processes


Abstract: Over the past decades, countless catchment studies covering a large variety of physiographic and climatic contexts have revealed the baffling diversity of streamflow generating processes. However, many of these investigations were hampered by limitations inherent to the monitoring techniques and protocols at hand (limited representativity of point measurements of precipitation, unrealistic assumptions in the application of chemical and isotopic tracers, etc.). Eventually, experimental hydrology remains a discipline that is severely measurement limited. New measuring approaches are therefore the first and most important resources for improving our understanding of catchment functioning. Over the last decade, it has been repeatedly advocated that the science of hydrology is on the threshold of further major advances, primarily driven by new measurement techniques, analytical methods of hydrological data, as well as new approaches for modelling hydrological systems.


In this context, we have explored in recent years the potential for new technological avenues to overcome some of the prevailing limitations in experimental hydrology – introducing terrestrial diatoms for tracing the onset/cessation of hydrological connectivity, using cell phone telecommunication systems for measuring precipitation in urban areas, and mapping saturated area dynamics via thermal IR imagery. Even though these innovative tracing and observation techniques have delivered very promising results, they nonetheless also suffer from limitations (e.g. limited microwave signal attenuation at low rainfall intensities, time consuming analysis of diatom slides, application limits of IR thermography in case of reduced temperature contrasts).

One common limitation to both conventional and new monitoring techniques lies in the fact that their implementation is often still cumbersome in that samples must be taken in the field and measured in the lab - resulting in very coarse sampling intervals. What is needed now is an approach to make these measurements directly in the field at high frequency. Such measurement potential would allow for fundamental new insights in hydrological processes research.   




Date:       Monday 25 Jan, 2016 at 11:00 s.t.

Venue:     Seminarraum 225, Stiege 1, 2nd floor, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  Dr. Cynthia Carliell-Marquez, University of Birmingham

Title:        Closing the loop for P in the UK Water Industry


Abstract: Water Industry Research and 12 UK Water and Sewerage companies joined forces with the University of Birmingham to explore how to transition the UK Water Industry from managing phosphorus as a pollutant to managing phosphorus as a resource. The project explored how the global phosphorus supply and demand situation might impact on UK legislative requirements for removing and recovering phosphorus from wastewater; and proposed a phosphorus trading system to stimulate phosphorus recovery on a UK-wide basis.


About the speaker: Dr. Cynthia Carliell-Marquet, a Senior Lecturer in Water and Environmental Engineering at the University of Birmingham, is a leading researcher in resource recovery from anaerobic digestion of biomass wastes. Dr Carliell-Marquet has been doing research in the field of anaerobic digestion for 20 years. Her experience spans industrial anaerobic treatment, co-digestion, behaviour of metals and phosphorus in anaerobic digesters, physical mixing of digesters and smaller-scale, decentralised anaerobic digestion facilities. She has published twenty-eight papers that have been cited more than four hundred times and was awarded the Institution of Civil Engineers Robert Alfred Carr prize in 2011 for her paper “Inorganic Profiles of Chemical Phosphorus Removal Sludge”. Dr Carliell-Marquet has been successful in winning research funding from the EPSRC and the UK Water Industry and is currently working on international projects with researchers in India, Switzerland, South Africa, and Australia.    




Date:       Tuesday 12 Jan, 2016 at 16:30 s.t.

Venue:     HS 7 (Hof 2, Stiege 7), Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  Dr. Judith Lienert, EAWAG Dübendorf, Switzerland

Title:        Making decisions for sustainable water infrastructure planning in an uncertain world


Abstract: Water supply and sewer pipes, treatment plants and other structures are vitally important to us all. However, these long-lived infrastructures are aging and require substantial financial investments for rehabilitation and renewal. Infrastructure planning is demanding and strongly influenced by uncertainty, including climate change and socioeconomic developments. Current infrastructure planning procedures do not systematically integrate future uncertainty, broader sustainability considerations, and the opinions of different stakeholders. The SWIP-project (“Sustainable Water Infrastructure Planning”: www.eawag.ch/swip), which was part of the Swiss National Research Programme NRP 61 on Sustainable Water Management (www.nfp61.ch) was set up to address these deficiencies. Main goal of SWIP was to provide an improved planning procedure that balances economic, ecological, and social aspects.

I will present the Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) framework developed in SWIP to integrate engineering modelling with societal data, applied to a case study near Zürich. This talk also focuses on stakeholder participation throughout the MCDA, including the problem structuring phase (workshops, interviews) and the elicitation of the stakeholders’ preferences (interviews, online surveys). I will demonstrate the usefulness of combining MCDA with scenario planning to deal with long-term uncertain socio-economic developments.


Using MCDA, the performance of 14 decision alternatives were evaluated in detail. These consisted of different technical configurations (e.g. central vs. decentralized wastewater sys-tem) and different rehabilitation or management strategies (e.g. public vs. private utilities). It was possible to identify compromise solutions which were robust despite large uncertainties of the data, predicted future performance, stakeholder preferences, and across all four future scenarios. We tested the assumptions with local and global sensitivity analyses. The decision support procedure is modular; the framework and MCDA-elements were set up in such a way that they are applicable to other water infrastructure decision situations and settings.    




Date:        Thursday 26 Nov, 2015 at 09:00 s.t.

Venue:     Seminar Room 124, Department of Geodesy and Geoinformation (GEO) Gusshausstrasse 27-29, 1040 Vienna, Austria

Speaker:  Prof. Dr. Marc F.P. Bierkens, Department of Physical Geography, Utrecht University, Netherlands

Title:         Global hydrology 2015: state, trends and directions    




Date:        Tuesday 3 Nov, 2015 at 16:30 s.t.

Venue:     HS 7 (Hof 2, Stiege 7), Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  Prof. Dr. Uwe Haberland, Leibnitz-University Hannover, Germany

Title:         Spatial and temporal modelling of precipitation for rainfall-runoff prediction


Abstract:  Representative rainfall data in space and time are basic condition for reliable flood predictions using rainfall runoff modelling. This contribution discusses methods for optimal spatial estimation and for temporal synthesis of short time step rainfall for flood simulations. First, methods for the estimation of spatial rainfall distribution combining point measurements and weather radar data are presented. The value of the merging products is evaluated based on cross validation of precipitation and on hydrological modelling. The results show that using radar data as additional information improves significantly the spatial rainfall representation but leads not generally to a better performance of the hydrological model. Second, a parameter parsimonious stochastic rainfall model is presented which allows an efficient simulation of hourly space-time rainfall for observed and unobserved locations. Simulated precipitation is evaluated based on rainfall statistics and hydrological simulations. The results show thst the stochastic rainfall can be used very well for derived flood frequency analysis to obtain reliable design floods, especially if the hydrological model is calibrated using statistical flood information.




Date:        Monday 5 Oct, 2015 at 10:00 s.t.

Venue:     Seminarraum 222, Stiege 1, 3rd Floor at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  Prof Joan Rose, Homer Nowlin Chair in Water Research, Dept  of  Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, USA

Title:         100 Years of Water Quality in the Great Lakes


Abstract:  The Laurentian Great Lakes region (Lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario and Superior) has a legacy of over 100 years of water quality science and policy. Currently water-based and coastal tourism has become a primary factor driving economic activity, job creation, wealth, and investment and the economic value gained from Great Lakes beach tourism. The water space in Michigan known as the Blue Economy is tied to millions of jobs and dollars. A great acceleration of population growth (in people and animals), landuse change, use of fertilizers, and water use as well as the global transport of humans and animals has led us into the anthropocene where continued water quality degradation as demonstrated by increased eutrophication and fecal contamination associated with microbial hazards and antibiotic resistance.   This is exacerbated by climate change and extreme events. Through the use of a quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) framework and molecular tools, point and diffuses sources and specific hazards are now identifiable; mapping and modeling tools allow the problems with nutrients and  fecal pollution to be assessed and remediated. This presentation will present the risks to the Great Lakes, approaches and efforts to restore and protect water quality.    




Date:        Wednesday 27 May, 2015 at 10:30 s.t.

Venue:     Seminarraum 225, Stiege 1, 2nd Floor, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  PD Dr. Michael Seidel, Technische Universität München, Germany

Title:         Systems for rapid concentration and detection of pathogenic microorganisms and viruses to establish an inline hygiene monitoring system for raw and drinking water


Abstract:  Drinking water should be free from pathogenic microorganisms and viruses. Raw water can be contaminated with fecal pathogens because of e.g. heavy rainfalls or technical defects. Currently, mobile or stationary deployable rapid detection systems are missing for the prompt control of water hygiene. However, in the future should the process interaction between treated waste water, surface water or ground water and drinking water be measured or even controlled. Standard culture-based methods quantify only some few indicator organisms and the enrichment takes more than one day. The time lag and the elaborative sample handling procedure is not suitable for a continuously hygiene monitoring system. Therefore, sampling, concentration and detection should be managed by an inline process. A crossflow ultrafiltration (CF-UF) system is established for continuously sampling and primary concentration of drinking or raw water from pipelines with a filtration flow of 1 – 2 m3 / h. The concentrate of microorganisms and other particles larger than 20 nm is in CF-UF module and can be eluted by back flushing. An innovative adsorption / elution method is developed for secondary concentration and matrix separation. The method is based on epoxy-based macroporous monolithic affinity filtration (MAF). Microorganisms and viruses are adsorbed due to their charges at a flow rate of up to 1 L / min. After elution, a last concentration is accomplished by centrifugal ultrafiltration. In total, the 1-m3 sample volume is reduced to 1 mL in not more than 2 h.  The nucleic acids of microorganisms and viruses are detected by isothermal on-chip amplification DNA microarray analysis after cell lysis and nucleic extraction. An automated flow-based chemiluminescence microarray analysis system (Microarray Chip Reader, MCR 3) is used for on-chip amplification and multiplexed detection of pathogenic microorganisms and viruses. In a first proof-of-principle study, adenoviruses, bacteriophage PhiX174 and Enterococcus faecalis is quantified in parallel. The entire analytical process chain is explained and discussed in the lecture.




Date:        Tuesday 19 May, 2015 at 16:30 s.t.

Venue:     Seminarraum 212-232, Stiege 1, 3rd Floor, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  Dr. Pierre-Yves Jeannin, Institut Suisse de Spéléologie et de Karstologie, ISSKALHyGeS, CNRS-Université de Strasbourg, France

Title:         New approaches for the management of karst groundwater


Abstract:  Many studies in karst hydrogeology are dedicated to "understand" groundwater flow, i.e.to sketch the shape the underground drainage system (flow-system). KARSYS is a new approach, starting with a synthesis of many available spatial data and leading to the construction of an explicit 3D conceptual model of flow systems. It provides very concrete information such as groundwater storage, phreatic zones (expansion, depth, volume) and about flowpaths. The method was expanded to assess karst occurrences in tunnel construction or generate drainage networks in order to make groundwater flow. Results can also be directly confronted to concepts derived from time data (e.g. hydrographs, chemographs, isotopes, etc.). Examples dealing with resources assessment, flooding assessment, groundwater protection zones and tunneling with be presented.




Date:        Tuesday 21 April, 2015 at 09:00 s.t.

Venue:     Seminarraum 212-232, Stiege 1, 3rd Floor, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  Prof Michael Ghil, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, and University of California, Los Angeles

Title:         Bifurcations, tipping points and climate applications


Abstract:  There is increasing awareness, both within the research community and in broader circles, that the climate system is highly nonlinear and can, therefore, behave in somewhat unexpected ways. In particular, rapid transitions have occurred in the past and might occur in the near future.

It has become popular to associate such transitions with the fairly fuzzy concept of “tipping points.” We shall examine one mathematically well understood phenomenon that falls within this fuzzy category, namely bifurcations, and give one or more simple instances of this phenomenon affecting the climate system.

As time permits, we plan to also discuss other sources of rapid transitions in the climate system, in which randomness intervenes along with nonlinearity.

Short Bibliography


Ghil, M., R. Benzi, and G. Parisi (Eds.), 1985: Turbulence and Predictability in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics and Climate Dynamics, North-Holland Publ. Co., 449 pp.

Ghil, M., and S. Childress, 1987: Topics in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics: Atmospheric Dynamics, Dynamo Theory and Climate Dynamics, Springer-Verlag, 485 pp.

Ghil, M., 2001: Hilbert problems for the geosciences in the 21st century, Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 8, 211–222.




Date:        Tuesday 21 April, 2015 at 11:00 s.t.

Venue:     Seminarraum 212-232, Stiege 1, 3rd Floor, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  Prof Michael Ghil, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, and University of California, Los Angeles

Title:         Endogenous business cycles and how natural hazards impact them


Abstract:  Much of macroeconomic theory is based on growth models, on the one hand, and business cycle models, on the other. For the latter, “real” business cycles (RBCs) are driven merely by random shocks, while nonlinear deterministic dynamics drives endogenous business cycles (EnBCs).


We present a study of U.S. business cycle dynamics based on multivariate singular spectrum analysis (M-SSA). This method provides a robust way to identify and reconstruct oscillations, even in the presence of modulation or intermittency. We show such oscillations to be associated with co-movements across the entire economy. The results of this analysis help us contrast RBCs and EnBCs.

Recent findings about the macroeconomic response to natural disasters in a non-equilibrium dynamical model (NEDyM) have shown a more severe response to natural disasters during expansions than during recessions. We show by using BEA data that the behavior of the U.S. economy changes significantly from one phase of the business cycle to another: the recession phase is dominated by a five-year mode, while the expansion phase exhibits more complex dynamics, with higher-frequency modes coming into play. We conclude that the variations so identified cannot be generated by random shocks alone.

As time permits, we will outline a similar analysis of several European economies, and show how M-SSA allows one to determine the links between these economies.


Short Bibliography

Groth, A., M. Ghil, S. Hallegatte and P. Dumas, 2015: The role of oscillatory modes in U.S. business cycles, J. Business Cycle Measurement Anal., in press.

Groth, A., P. Dumas, M. Ghil and S. Hallegatte, 2015: Impacts of natural disasters on a dynamic economy, AGU Monograph on Observations, Modeling and Economics of Extreme Events, M. Chavez et al. (Eds.), in press.

Hallegatte, S., M. Ghil, P. Dumas, and J.-C. Hourcade, 2008: Business cycles, bifurcations and chaos in a neo-classical model with investment dynamics, J. Economic Behavior & Organization, 67, 57–77, doi: 10.1016/j.jebo.2007.05.001

Hallegatte, S., and M. Ghil, 2008: Natural disasters impacting a macroeconomic model with endogenous dynamics, Ecological Economics, 68, 582–592, doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2008.05.022

Sella, L., G. Vivaldo, A. Groth, and M. Ghil, 2013: Economic cycles and their synchronization: A survey of spectral properties, Fondazione ENI Enrico Mattei (FEEM) Working Paper 105.2013, www.feem.it/userfiles/attach/20131213123514NDL2013-105.pdf    




Date:        Tuesday 17 March, 2015 at 16:30 s.t.

Venue:     Seminarraum 222, Stiege 1, 3rd Floor at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  Dr. Luis Samaniego, Helmholtz-Centre of Environmental Research (UFZ) Leipzig, Germany

Title:         Robust predictions of water fluxes from small catchment to continental scales


Abstract:  Developing the ability to seamlessly predict streamflow and other state variables like soil moisture at catchment, regional, continental or global scales with spatial resolutions varying from hundreds to thousands of meters is fundamental for improving our understanding of the water balance at scales relevant for decision making as well as for improving our understanding of the potential impacts of climate change on water resources. Hydrologic observations, however, are hardly available at the scale at which the predictions are needed. Streamflow, for example is a quite reliable signal but it represents the integral response over the whole basin. In situ soil moisture observation have a very small control volume and are hardly available at a regional scale. Remote sensing products such as the total water storage anomaly or soil moisture, on the other hand, are spatially explicit but observed at resolutions much larger than those required. It is therefore necessary to develop a framework that incorporates observations at their native resolutions into a hydrologic model without the need of using ad hoc up-/downscaling techniques to match observations. In this presentation, we show the capability of the Multiscale Parameter Regionalization (MPR) integrated within the mesoscale Hydrologic Model (mHM; www.ufz.de/mhm) to perform this task. MPR is an effective method to find quasi-scale invariant parameter sets. Results carried out in Germany (Samaniego et al 2010ab, WRR, Kumar et al, 2013a WRR, Samaniego et al, JHM 2013) and in hundreds of basins in the USA (Kumar el al 2013b WRR) demonstrate the applicability of the method under varying climatic regimes, resolutions and data standards. More recently results obtained over more than 300 basins (Zink et al. 2015, in preparation JHM) at high resolution in Germany (4 x 4 km2), and over 250 Pan-EU river basins varying from 100 - 500,000 km2 at much higher resolution (0.25 × 0.25)° (Rakovec et al, 2015 in preparation JHM) demonstrate the applicability of the mHM and its parameterization MPR across scales. In this last case (Pan-EU), the model is forced using the E-OBS derived data set available at a (0.25 × 0.25)° resolution from ECA&D during the period 1951-2012. The effective parameters obtained with simulations at this scale can effectively reproduce the total water storage anomalies retrieved by GRACE (NASA) at the spatial resolution (1 × 1)°, the gridded evapotranspiration estimated by LandFlux (ETH) (0.5 × 0.5)° and MODIS (NASA) (0.25 × 0.25)° as well as at tens of eddy flux stations (FLUXNET) whose footprint is about 0.1 × 0.1 km2. Cross-validation experiments lead to the conclusion that mHM estimated water fluxes are robust since less than 25% of river basins exhibit NSE of 0.4 or less for daily discharge. Likewise, the TWS anomalies, exhibit a large spatial correlation with those obtained from GRACE. Comparison against observed latent heat indicates that the dynamics and magnitude of the simulated values are well captured by the model at most locations.



Date:        Tuesday 17 June, 2014 at 16:30 s.t.

Venue:     Seminarraum 222, Stiege 1, 3rd Floor at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  Prof. Dr. Dr. A. Bardossy, Institute for Modelling Hydraulic and Environmental Systems,

                 University of Stuttgart, Germany

Title:         Blending data and indirect information for hydrological applications




Date:        Monday 5 May, 2014 at 15:15 s.t.

Venue:     Seminarraum 222, Stiege 1, 3rd Floor

                at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  Ghazi A. Al-Rawas, Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering,

                 Sultan Qaboos University, Oman

Title:         Flood mitigation in arid regions - Oman


Abstract:  Oman is one of several countries located in an arid zone that is subject to flash flooding. Records show that major flash floods occurred in Oman in 1989, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013. Few flash flood studies in the literature have focused on the issue of flash flooding in an arid environment. Consequently, flash flooding in arid regions affecting Wadis like Oman, which is the focus of this research, is poorly understood. A review of the research gaps demonstrates that rainstorm and watershed characteristics are the most influencing factors on urban flash flood studies for an arid environment like Oman. The main objective of this research is to improve flash flood prediction by providing new knowledge and better understanding of the hydrological processes governing flash floods in arid regions like Oman. This includes developing rainstorm time distribution curves that are unique for this type of study region; and analyze, investigate, and develop a relationship between arid watershed characteristics (including urbanization) and wadi flow flood frequency in Oman.

Data from 2042 rainstorm events in the Rustaq watershed were used to develop heavy rainfall temporal distribution curves characteristic of arid climates. Orographic effects on rainfall were also investigated by separating the data into two regions, mountainous and coastal, and hyetographs were developed for both regions. The curves for both regions are similar and display a very high intensity at the beginning of the storm, which is known to be a characteristic of storms in arid regions. The new distributions were compared to other standard established distributions derived for regions in Canada and the United States.

Relationships between 12 watershed characteristics and mean wadi flood-peaks in northern Oman are investigated. Drainage area (DA), wadi slope (WS), watershed mean elevation (BE), and agricultural/farm area (FR) were found to be the key variables affecting flood flows, with DA having the strongest relationship. Bigger watersheds with high wadi slope, low altitudes, and less farms tend to have higher mean peak flow discharge (QMPF). Unlike past literature, this research shows that DA is positively related to flood peak discharge rates. A new approach is introduced by including FR impacts on runoff in Oman. The approach showed that FR improved the variance explanation over models using only traditional variables such as DA and BE.


The effect of urban form on Curve Number (CN) use in rainfall-runoff modelling is explored in an arid wadi watershed in Oman. The standard hydrologic CN used in the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) method may not be appropriate to use in urbanized arid wadi regions since the land-use characteristics are different than those for which the CN method was developed for. The use of modified CN produce higher peak-flow (an increase of 19% or 7.4 m3/s, on average) with shorter time-to-peak (a decrease of 16% or 86 minutes, on average), mimicking the flash-floods seen in the region.



Date:       Monday 5 May, 2014 at 14:00 s.t.

Venue:     Seminarraum 222, Stiege 1, 3rd Floor

                at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  Dr. Said Al Hattaly, Expert Water Resources Affairs

                Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, Sultanate of Oman

Title:         Water Resources Assessment, Constrains and Management Practices in Oman


Abstract:  Oman sits on the edge of the stable Arabian platform where several thousands of meters of stable shelf carbonates were deposited. Oman is highly dependent upon groundwater for most of her water supply. Groundwater distribution is related to the geology as well as the climate. The complex geological structure of the Oman Mountains has resulted in equally complex and well developed fracture and karst systems in the rocks forming the aquifers. These systems intercept and store rainfall which then gradually discharges to springs, or as seepage into adjacent alluvial aquifers. In this setting groundwater is most easily harvested from spring discharge, or by wells and aflaj (qanants).

In the Sultanate of Oman increase in population and rapid urbanization are presenting major challenges in terms of meeting increasing demand for municipal water and industrial supply and adding further constrains to the availability of scarce water resources. Broad patterns of change in a key areas are familiar to many in the water resources community. Basic changes in climatic systems are occurring. These changes will cascades at varying time scales through regional hydrologic systems and, equally importantly, through the knowledge and institutional systems we use to monitor, interpret and allocate water resources.

Oman is experiencing an unprecedented period of rapid infrastructure development due to the arising issues of the recent development particularly in the industry and tourism sectors. Water resources development to meet these various demands during the decades ahead will require heavy financial investment. Substantial investments will be required for the development of both conventional and non-conventional water resources and distribution networks.

There are still groundwater sources that can be developed, but the opportunity cost considered to be very high. Desalination in Oman as is in other countries in the region, is a major source of supply for both municipal supply and industrial sectors, given the region’s limited natural water resources, its financial resources and its cheap energy. Extensive assessment, inventory and various management programs were undertaken and were progressively increase in a rather detailed and discreet manner. The country’s record in developing and implementing sound water management policies and practices has been impressive in meeting the country’s requirements. This lecture will present an overview of water resources assessment projects as milestones towards road-map to sustainable water resources management, current water resources situation, constrains and management practices.




Date:       Wednesday 2 April, 2014 at 14:00 s.t.

Venue:     Seminarraum E 206/3, Stiege 3, 2nd Floor

                at the Institute of Building Construction and Technology, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  Dr. Ben van den Akker, Australian Water Quality Centre at the South Australian Water


Title:         Risk management of water quality and public health – An Australian perspective


Abstract:  For the past decade, Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA) based regulation has been implemented in Netherlands for the management of drinking water safety. More recently, the concept and methodology of QMRA was formally integrated into the Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling and will most likely to be adopted in the revised Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. The process provides a framework to systematically evaluate health risks of water supply systems by quantifying pathogen: i) sources; ii) fate/removal during treatment; iii) exposure; and iv) dose-response. Integration of this information using the QMRA framework allows risk to be quantified in terms of probability of infection, disability and/or death, which is use to inform risk management.  This approach provides a better assessment of safety than compared to the traditional approach of routine compliance-based monitoring of microbial indicators. This presentation will highlight the emerging role of QMRA as a ‘tool’ to understand and manage water quality and health risks. It will also cover how QMRA is used to define health-based targets to set the design criteria of water treatment barriers, and assessment of their safety. The benefits of employing QMRA and challenges of implementation will also be discussed.




Date:       Tuesday 1 April, 2014 at 16:30 s.t.

Venue:     Seminarraum 222, Stiege 1, 3rd Floor

                at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  Prof. Dr. W. Kinzelbach, Institute of Environmental Engineering, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Title:         Real time modelling and control of groundwater systems


Abstract:  The flexible and efficient management of regional groundwater systems needs to take into account the variations of hydrology and demand. It can be achieved through real time control, in which sensor networks monitor the system continuously, data acquired are transmitted and assimilated in real time into a model of the system, which in turn is used to successively reach optimized management decisions. Here two examples of real time control of groundwater systems are given. One is the control system of Hardhof groundwater works of Zurich. It steers wells and infiltration basins in a way to keep polluted water away from the drinking water abstraction wells. It has been operated successfully for several years now. The other one is a planned system in the Heihe River basin in China, where groundwater is presently overpumped and a real time control of pumping rates by an IC card system will be implemented.



Date:       Tuesday 18 March, 2014 at 13:00 s.t.

Venue:     Seminarraum E 206/3, Stiege 3, 2nd Floor

                at the Institute of Building Construction and Technology, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  Prof. dr. Roy Brouwer, Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Title:        Meta-analysis of institutional-economic factors explaining the environmental performance of Payments for Watershed Services


Abstract:  The factors that drive and explain the environmental performance of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) are generally still poorly understood. A meta-analysis of the relationships between institutional design and environmental performance of about 50 Payments for Watershed Services (PWS) schemes worldwide is presented. The results show a significant effect of the terms and conditions of scheme participation, including the selection of service providers, community participation, the existence and monitoring of quantifiable objectives, and the number of intermediaries between service providers and buyers on environmental achievement. They are however highly dependent on the reliability of the available information, in particular the measurement of the performance of PWS on watershed service provision. Despite efforts to find quantitative information on the environmental performance of existing PWS schemes, such empirical evidence is lacking in many of the schemes studied. International monitoring guidelines are needed to facilitate comparisons, identify success factors and support the future design of cost-effective PWS schemes.



Date:       Thursday 16 January, 2014 at 14:00 s.t.

Venue:     Seminarraum 222, Stiege 1, 3rd Floor

                at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  Prof. Dr. Karsten Schulz,  Institute of Water Management, Hydrology & Hydraulic Engineering,

                     BOKU Vienna

Title:        The importance of long term observations: Data based mechanistic modelling in land surface

                carbon and water fluxes


Abstract:  Long term observations are essential for extracting and improving process understanding under global environmental change. An analysis of carbon and water fluxes between the land surface and the atmosphere is of particular interest. Data-based mechanistic modelling strategies allow the dominant modes of the system behaviour to be extracted and to be parameterized in a parsimonious way. This is an essential first step to subsequently develop regionalization methods that are based on remote sensing information in order to estimate the fluxes at a regional or at the global scale.



Date:       Wednesday 8 January, 2014 at 15:00 c.t.

Venue:    Seminarraum E 206/3, Stiege 3, 2nd Floor

               at the Institute of Building Construction and Technology, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker: Prof. Peter M. Kort,  Department of Econometrics & Operations Research and Center for Economic

                    Research (CentER), Tilburg University

Title:        An Impulse Control Approach to Dike Height Optimization


Abstract:  This presentation determines the optimal timing of dike heightenings as well as the corresponding optimal dike heightenings to protect against floods. To derive the optimal policy we design an algorithm based on the Impulse Control Maximum Principle. In this way the paper presents one of the first real life applications of the Impulse Control Maximum Principle developed by Blaquiere. We show that the proposed Impulse Control approach performs better than Dynamic Programming with respect to computational time. This is caused by the fact that Impulse Control does not need discretization in time.



Date:       Thursday 19 December, 2013 at 14:00

Venue:    Seminarraum 222, Stiege 1, 3rd Floor

               at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker: Univ.Ass. Dr.rer.nat. Adrian Flores-Orozco, Department of Geodesy and Geoinformation,

               TU Vienna

Title:        Hydraulic Conductivity delineation by means of Spectral Induced Polarization Imaging


Abstract:  Laboratory studies have demonstrated a strong correlation between the hydrogeological parameters controlling groundwater flow and the electrical properties of the materials in the subsurface. In particular, the Induced Polarization (IP) has emerged as a very promising method to delineate changes in the hydraulic conductivity. This is due to the fact that the IP method provides information not only about electrical conduction within the pore fluid, but also about polarization processes taking place at the fluid-grain interface. Moreover, measurements performed at different acquisition frequencies, in the so-called spectral IP (SIP), reveal a frequency-dependence of the electrical parameters on textural properties of the subsurface. Laboratory studies have revealed a strong correlation between the polarization effect and the specific surface area, permitting the estimation of hydraulic conductivity by means of empirical equations. Moreover, recently developed mechanistic models have demonstrated the possibility to quantitatively predict hydraulic conductivity values based on the parameters describing the frequency response of SIP measurements. This lecture reviews the approaches to quantify hydraulic conductivity values based on the petrophysical models linking SIP imaging results and soil texture parameters. For completeness, a review on the basic principles of the geophysical method and field procedures for data acquisition are presented.



Date:       Monday 4 November, 2013 at 13:00

Venue:    Seminarraum 222, 3rd Floor

               at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  doc.Dr.Ing. Tomáš Dostál, Department of Irrigation, Drainage and Landscape Engineering,

                CTU Prague, Czech Republic

Title:        Relation between streams revitalization and flood control


Abstract:  The small rivers and streams revitalization is more and more popular in Central Europe to improve landscape ecological stability and also to fulfill demands of Water Framework Directive on good ecological state of water bodies. On the other hand, it is also often understood as a very effective flood control measure, due to support of water spilling into floodplain, increase of roughness and support of retention capacity. Revitalization of hydrological network is related with revitalization of landscape as a whole. The effect of revitalization of the catchment and of the stream channel has its rules and limits in their effect. Very different tools can be used to quantify retention potential and effect of the landscape, related to rainfall characteristics, to show its positives, but also limits. Principles and examples will be presented at the lecture. Results of complex mathematical 2D hydraulic modeling which has been used to document potential effect of revitalization of stream channel and floodplain on flood wave transformation and water retention will be presented as well. It shows, the effect of revitalization measures can be significant, but it is definitely not a type of measure, which can be implemented as universal one and to solve majority of our flood control problems.



Date:       Friday 11 October, 2013 at 14:00

Venue:    Seminarraum 222, 3rd Floor

               at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  Prof. Dr. Stefanie Hellweg, Institute for Environmental Engineering, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Title:         Assessing the environmental impacts of water consumption


Abstract:  Global stress on water and land resources is increasing as a consequence of population growth and higher demand for food and energy. Many terrestrial ecosystems have already massively been degraded and water scarcity related to irrigation has damaged water dependent ecosystems. In the presentation, methods for assessing the environmental impacts of water consumption and land use are presented, in particular with regard to damages to ecosystem quality. These methods are then applied to the case studies of global agriculture (160 crops and crop groups, covering more than 99% of globally harvested mass) and electricity production. The results show that in both case studies, regionalized impact assessment methods for freshwater consumption show important differences to site-generic calculations. Cultivation of wheat, rice, cotton, maize and sugar cane, which are major sources of food, bioenergy and fiber, is the main water-scarcity driver. For some crops, water scarcity impacts are inversely related to land resource stress, illustrating that water consumption is often at odds with land use. As the demand of food resources is expected to grow, we develop strategies to deliver the biotic output for feeding the mankind in 2050. Expansion on suitable and intensification of existing areas are compared to assess associated environmental impacts, including irrigation demand, water stress under climate change, and the productivity of the occupied land. Intensification in regions currently under deficit irrigation can increase agricultural output by up to 30%. However, intensified crop production causes enormous water stress in many locations and might not be a viable solution. Furthermore, intensification alone will not be able to meet future food demand: additionally, a reduction of waste by 50% along the food supply chain, reduction in demand for meat or expansion of agricultural land is required for satisfying current per-capita food and bioenergy consumption. Suitable areas for such expansion are mainly located in Africa, followed by South America. A combination of waste reduction with expansion on suitable pastures generally results as the best option, along with some intensification on selected areas. Our results suggest that minimizing environmental impacts requires fundamental change in international cooperation, by producing crops where it is most environmentally efficient.



Date:       Tuesday 10 September, 2013 at 14:00

Venue:    Seminarraum 222, 3rd Floor

               at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bruno Merz, Institute of Earth and Environmental Science, University of  Potsdam, Germany

Title:        Flood damage assessment: What are the important influences?


Abstract: Flood risk management builds upon a sound assessment of flood hazard and flood vulnerability which includes the estimation of damage and effectiveness of different mitigation measures. Compared to the wealth of methods and available information on flood hazard, reliable flood damage data are scarce, understanding of the damaging processes is weak, and damage estimation methods are crude. The usual approach for flood damage assessment consists of stage-damage functions which relate the relative or absolute damage for a certain class of objects to the inundation depth. Other characteristics of the flooding situation and of the flooded object are rarely taken into account, although flood damage is influenced by a variety of factors. Based upon rich multi-variate datasets collected after large floods in Germany, we analyse which variables dominate the damage and to which extent additional variables improve the loss estimation. Non-parametric and non-linear methods, such as regression trees and Bayesian networks, are used to (1) identify the important damage-influencing variables and (2) to derive multi-variate damage models. The comparison of different models shows that using additional explanatory variables besides the water depth improves the predictive capability in a spatial and temporal transfer context.



Date:       Thursday 8 August, 2013 at 16:00

Venue:    Seminarraum 222, 3rd Floor

                at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:  Dr. Itay Fishhendler, Department of Geography, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Title:        Institutional arrangements that address uncertainty in international water negotiations and projects


Abstract: Water management inherently entails addressing uncertainty, given the stochastic nature of both supply and demand. Uncertainties affect both physical dimensions of water supply, such as precipitation patterns, as well as social aspects, including investment and technological development. A host of uncertainties also affect water demand,including economic development, changes in preferences, and cross-elasticities for other goods. Climate change adds uncertainties to water forecasting as it affects a wide range of both supply and demand side aspects of water management, as well as the provision of ecosystem services. The variety of uncertainties and the challenge these pose is compounded in a transboundary setting. Policymakers in a transboundary setting deal with uncertainty regarding the preferences and behavior of riparian states and negotiating partners, which are exacerbated under conditions of conflict and mistrust between parties. Academics have long stressed the need for developing robust strategies to address uncertainties in international water agreements and institutions. Such strategies need to perform well over a wide range of different scenarios. With this need for robustness in mind we can differentiate between at least four different strategies that have been employed in water institutions in order to deal with uncertainties: (i) a strategy of ignoring uncertainty, (ii) a strategy of complete contracts, (iii) a strategy of reducing uncertainty, and (iv) an open-ended approach. This paper, based on three quantitative case studies, examines the frequency of use of these four strategies in international water  negotiations. Then it uses these results to discuss the political feasibility on these four generic strategies to address uncertainties in water negotiations over mega projects, water supply and conflict resolution.  The first case is analyzing the expanded Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database (TFDD), which the most comprehensive source of transboundary water agreements that meet the criteria. The second one takes the Israeli-Palestinian Annapolis round and post-Annapolis negotiations as a case study. The third one traces the strategies used to market the Dead Sea Canal (along the Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian border), in face of multiple uncertainties this mega project faces.



Date:    Thursday 16 May, 2013 at 17:00

Venue:    Seminarraum 222, 3rd Floor

at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:    Dr. Severin Hohensinner, Institute of Hydrobiology & Aquatic Ecosystem Management (IHG), University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU), Austria

Title:    Historical evidence on the past morphology and hydrology of the Austrian Danube River


Abstract:    Many historical sources provide information that allows conclusions to be drawn from an historical, river morphological, hydrological and ecological point of view. The reconstruction of past fluvial dynamics or the consequences of hydraulic constructions is often difficult, because the diverse sources are too different in type or show only fragmented information. The presentation highlights selected examples of new findings about the historical hydromorphological characteristics of the Austrian Danube River based on historical sources. The focus is on the former river landscape in today’s Vienna and on the Machland, a still rural Danube section 160 km upstream from Vienna.




Date:    Friday 11 January, 2013 at 14:00

Venue:    Seminarraum 222, 3rd Floor

at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:    Dr. Oliver Wetter, University of Bern, Institute of Economic-, Social- and Environmental History

Title:    Reconstruction and peak discharge quantification of pre instrumental (High-Rhine) river flood events of the last 750 years




Date:    Thursday 11 October 2012 at 16:00

Venue:    Seminarraum 222, 3rd Floor

at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:    Dr. Christian Griebler, Helmholtz Zentrum München

Title:    Ecological assessment of groundwater ecosystems – vision or illusion?


Abstract:    Today the assessment of the ecological status of surface waters is routine and found its way into national and international (European Water Framework Directive) regulations. For groundwater and aquifers a comparable approach is still missing. In contrast, groundwater monitoring and management schemes follow exclusively physical-chemical and quantitative criteria. However, groundwater systems are, although persistently neglected, ecosystems harbouring diverse communities of microorganisms and invertebrates. Consequently, goal of the project was to design a first concept of an ecologically sound assessment scheme for groundwater systems, taking biological criteria into account. In the course of the project six steps to a first evaluation scheme have been proposed and followed; i.e. (1) the selection of appropriate parameters, (2) to inventory at selected sites, (3) the search for an ecologically sound groundwater systems typology, (4) deduction of natural background values and definition of reference conditions, (5) the identification of sensitive criteria and bioindicators, and (6) a first evaluation model. Groundwater of more than 100 wells has been analyzed repeatedly. The wells have been distributed within five investigation areas spread all over Germany. The investigated sites could be assigned to different typologies, such as natural regions, geological regions, hydrogeological units, and aquifer types. The mismatch of groundwater communities with the established classification schemes led to the proposal of ‘stygoregions’ for Germany. Moreover, the project identified a number of microbial and faunistic assessment criteria, tested them, and deduced their natural background in ecologically intact groundwater systems. Finally, a tiered framework for assessing groundwater ecosystem status which allows an easy and fast evaluation is introduced.




Date:    Friday, 15 June 2012 at 10:00am

Venue:    Seminarraum 222, 3rd Floor

at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:    Prof Majid Hassanizadh,Utrecht University, Netherlands

Title:    Transport of Viruses in Partially Saturated Soil and Groundwater



Darcy Lecture 2012    




Date:    Tuesday, 12 June 2012 at 16:00

Venue:    Seminarraum 222, 3rd Floor

at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:    Prof Michael Getzner, Vienna University of Technology

Title:    Economic values of river restoration




Date:    Tuesday, 27 March, 2012 at 10:30

Venue:    Seminarraum 222, 3rd Floor

at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:    Prof. Marc Parlange, Laboratory of Environmental Fluid Mechanics and Hydrology, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne EPFL, Switzerland

Title:    Land-atmosphere interaction over complex terrain




Date:    Wednesday, 15 February, 2012 at 16:00

Venue:    Seminarraum 122, at the Institute of Institute of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing,  Gußhausstraße 27 - 29, Vienna

Speaker:    Dr. Patrick Matgen, Department of Environment and Agro-biotechnologies, Public Research Centre-Gabriel Lippmann, Luxembourg

Title:    Surface and subsurface water from space: on the integration of microwave remote sensing observations with flood prediction systems


Abstract:    The technique of active microwave remote sensing has made much progress toward its high potential to monitor water storage changes in terrestrial surface and subsurface water bodies at various spatial and temporal scales. The number of studies demonstrating the support these data can offer in hydrological and hydraulic model building, model calibration and model updating is growing rapidly. While there is no doubt that this technological progress has already brought new insights into hydrology and hydraulics, there are still several issues that require attention. The questions to answer are: (1) How to add value to ‘raw’ remote sensing data for hydrological applications, (2) how to combine remote sensing techniques with hydrologic-hydraulic models for improved predictions, and (3) how to evolve irregular and intermittent remote sensing-based applications into systematic services? The first question deals with the adequate data processing to retrieve meaningful information about hydrological/hydraulic variables (e.g. soil moisture, water elevation). The second question deals with the effective integration of remote sensing-derived information and in situ data with adequate models, either offline for model building and calibration or online via assimilation for model updating. The third question focuses on an efficient production, processing and distribution of satellite data and the development of new services that may help to advance operational water resources management. This presentation introduces recent activities at the Centre de Recherche Public – Gabriel Lippmann (Luxembourg) dealing with these three research questions.


Date:    Thursday 27 Oct, 2011 at 16.00

Venue:    Seminarraum 222, 3rd Floor

at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:    Prof. Mark C. Rains, Department of Geology, University of South  Florida, USA

Title:    Water Sources and Hydrodynamics of Closed-Basin Depressions, Cook Inlet Region, Alaska

Abstract:    Among the most prevalent wetland and deepwater habitats in Alaska are ponds, many of which are subarctic ponds occurring as moraine, ice-scour, or dead-ice depressions. Many are closed-basin depressions, where surface-water inflows and outflows are negligible. The objective of this study was to quantify the water sources and hydrodynamics of these subarctic ponds, particularly with respect to the role they play in groundwater recharge. There are two types of ponds on the study site. Perched-precipitation ponds have inflows by melt water and direct precipitation, outflows by evapotranspiration and groundwater recharge, and are seasonally inundated because surface water is perched above the water table and infiltration through the low-permeability surficial deposits to the water table is slow. Flow-through ponds have inflows by melt water, direct precipitation, and groundwater discharge, outflows by evapotranspiration and groundwater recharge, and are perennially inundated because of groundwater throughflow. Both are groundwater recharge focal points. This is particularly true for perched-precipitation ponds, where net groundwater recharge rates were 215% larger than in flow-through ponds, and 332% larger than in the broader landscape. Most of the additional groundwater recharge occurs immediately following breakup, as Aeolian transported snow trapped in the depressions melts which results in enhanced groundwater recharge rates.


Date:    Friday 23 Sept, 2011 at 10.00

Venue:    Seminarraum 222, 3rd Floor

at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, Karlsplatz 13, Vienna

Speaker:    Prof. Dr. Peter Wilderer, Department of Civil Engineering and Surveying, Technische Universität München, Germany

Title:    Interfacial Water Research – the Ultimate Challenge of Early Career Scholars

Abstract:    Peter Wilderer is one of the leading experts on hydraulic management in Germany. The first German academic to win the Stockholm Water Prize in 2003, he has been awarded countless other honours both within Germany and around the world. The scope of his research reaches from innovative methods of water acquisition and waste water recycling through the ecology of microbial systems to the reclamation of useful material in waste water and other waste products. During this seminar he will talk about Interfacial Water Research – the Ultimate Challenge of Early Career Scholars.




Date:    05/05/2011 at 10.30

Venue:    Seminar Room 225, Karlsplatz 13, 2nd Floor, Steige 1

Speaker:    Ronald W. Harvey, National Research Program U.S. Geological Survey, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Title:    Small-scale injection and recovery studies to examine bacterial transport processes within a sandy, drinking-water aquifer


Abstract:    The presentation will focus on the use of small-scale injection-and-recovery studies to assess in-situ the transport, re-entrainment, survival, and adaptations of indigenous and non-indigenous microorganisms in drinking water aquifers.  Re-entrainment of bacteria previously labeled with a DNA-specific fluorescent dye (DAPI) that were allowed to attach within sandy aquifer sediments was compared to that of bacteria-sized, carboxylate-modified microspheres.  Release at depth in response to subsequent hydrodynamic perturbations (change in flow velocity) and injections of deionized water (ionic strength reduction) and modest concentrations (76-77 ?M) of common surface water contaminants, including the anionic surfactants, linear alkylbenzene sulfonates (LAS) and the non-ionic surfactant polyoxyethylene sorbitan monooleate (Tween 80) indicate differing patterns of re-entrainment for the two colloids  Deionized water and anionic surfactants were the most efficient in causing detachment of the highly hydrophilic and negatively charged microspheres, but largely ineffective in causing re-entrainment of bacteria.  In contrast, the nonionic surfactant was highly effective in re-entraining bacteria, but not microspheres. The presentation will also briefly cover injection-and-recovery studies designed to assess changes in bacterial carrying capacity and changes in community composition, metabolic status, and ecological function in response to injections of low levels of the common antibiotic Sulfamethoxazole.




Date:    22/03/2011 at 16.00

Venue:    Seminar Room 2063, Karlsplatz 13, 2nd Floor, Steige 3

Speaker:    Prof. Thorsten Wagener, Civil and Environmental Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, USA

Title:    Towards a new hydrologic modeling framework for predictions in ungauged basins and for climate change impact projections


Abstract:    The use of mathematical models to reflect the functional behavior of hydrological systems for example at the watershed scale is fundamental to most research and operational aspects of hydrology. Despite decades of research into optimal strategies for model identification and evaluation, we have still not achieved our ultimate aim, i.e. to develop models that reflect the (relevant) functional behavior of the hydrological system under study and can be applied everywhere (even without possibility for calibration!) (see Wagener et al., 2010). Most modeling strategies currently applied are still rooted in the tradition of statistical regression and rely on the availability of historical observations of the watershed response (e.g. streamflow) for calibration. Such observations are by definition not available in the context of predictions in ungauged basins or for long-term projections of climate change impacts. In this talk we will outline how signatures (indices of hydrologic function) can be regionalized and assimilated into a hydrological model in a Bayesian framework to reduce predictive uncertainty in ungauged basins and to consider how the watershed behavior will change in a changing climate. Initial results suggest that the incorporation of signatures in PUB leads to a significant reduction in uncertainty, while the considerations of signatures in change projections can lead to significantly different results compared to models calibrated to historical data.



Wagener, T., Sivapalan, M., Troch, P.A., McGlynn, B.L., Harman, C.J., Gupta, H.V., Kumar, P., Rao, P.S.C., Basu, N.B. and Wilson, J.S. 2010. The future of hydrology: An evolving science for a changing world. Water Resources Research, 46, W05301, doi:10.1029/2009WR008906.


Seminars in 2010