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CliWaC (Climate and Water under Change) - Project parts: extreme weather and water harvesting

Structure of the proposed Einstein Research Unit Climate and Water under Change (CliWaC). Transdisciplinary research will be bundled in eight work packages (WPs) that are grouped into three parts (A, B, C) with close links within each part and between parts. All WPs will be aligned along three major case studies, in which stakeholders will be involved throughout the research process.
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The Einstein Research Unit Climate and Water under Change (CliWaC), a transdisciplinary research initiative of the Berlin University Alliance, is dedicated to investigating water-related risks of climate change in the Berlin-Brandenburg area. In doing so, CliWaC will bring together the social and natural sciences as well as practical expertise of stakeholders to develop mitigation and adaptation measures against the effects of climate change.

With CliWaC’s innovative look , social and natural sciences converge into an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary project, that is enriched with the practical expertise from stakeholders collaboration, aims improve resilience to climate change. The consortium is built by 28 project leaders from the Berlin University Alliance – Technische Universität Berlin, Humbolt-Universität zu Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, and Charité.

The goals of the project are:

  • assessing emerging challenges due to changes in regional and local climates and subsequent changes in water-related processes;
  • evaluating physical and social vulnerability and resilience to changes in the regional water cycle across sectors and actors
  • gauging interdependencies and interferences between water-cycle dynamics and social practices, institutions and systems of governance
  • determining potential synergies and conflicts of mitigation and adaptation strategies; and
  • determining specific challenges of coordinated decision-making across borders for improved management.

The focus on the Berlin-Brandenburg region is motivated by the multiple natural, societal, and political features, that relate to different demands and possible solutions to urban and rural systems. Therefore, the multitude of social, ecological, industrial, and infrastructural factors concede plausibility and legitimacy to the presented solutions for governance of mitigation and adaptation measures in response to climate change.

Further information on the Einstein Research Group: www.cliwac.de

Involvement of FG Ecohydrology

In our sub-project (A1 and B3) we deal with the analysis of flash droughts, precipitation frequency shifts and the modelling, potential analysis and feasibility study of in situ and ex situ water harvesting (rainwater harvesting) in rural and urban areas.

A1 – Present and Future drivers risks

In WP-A1 we aim in identifying changes, trends and impacts of dry spells, droughts, and flash droughts. We seek to understand the seasonality of those events, key drivers for their occurrence and their impacts in rural and urban areas.

Some results already obtained

  • Analysis of impact of dry spell definition on duration and frequency of dry spells. Synchronicity and compound occurrence with heatwaves and storms were also analyzed.
  • Comparison of multiple definitions of flash drought. Co-occurrence and different drivers were analyzed. A novel method with multi-criteria approach was proposed. Additionally, a Shiny-App for visualization (https://pedroalencar.shinyapps.io/FD-Viz/) and a R-package (https://github.com/pedroalencar1/fdClassify) for reproducibility were elaborated.
  • Changes in drought return periods using copula and entropy theories. In this study we use a bivariate approach (severity and duration) to obtain SDF-curves and compare changes in the frequency of occurrence of droughts in the Berlin-Brandenburg region.

List of publications:

  • Alencar PHL, Paton EN. How Do We Identify Flash Droughts? Case Study in European Croplands, Hydrology Research (2021 – submitted) 
  • Eva Paton (2022) Intermittency analysis of dry spell magnitude and timing using different spell definitions, Journal of Hydrology (2022) – DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2022.127645.

B3 – Impacts and actions - Water resource management

In WP-B3 we aim to, given supply and demand of water in the Berlin-Brandenburg region, propose solutions of rain water harvesting to provide water particularly in extreme weather conditions.

Distribution of dry spells derived using eleven different definitions, for the period 1921–2020 at the station in Potsdam: (left) empirical density functions and (right) box plots for all dry spells longer than 7 days (adapted from: Paton, 2022).
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Flash drought events by six methods at FluxNET2015 station in Klingenberg (Germany) for the time period 2004-2014. Colour coding: green bars show start and end of flash droughts, yellow bars show near misses and red bars show clear false identifications (adapted from: Alencar & Paton, 2021).
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Ratio of change in the return period (the larger, the more frequent they become). Data from the Saekularstation in Potsdam. Droughts are defined using SPEI (Vicente-Serrano et al., 2012).
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Illustrations of current sub-projects development

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