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WP4 Objectives

The objectives of this WP are:

1. assessing the impacts of climatic change on hydropower systems by applying ice and snow melt models coupled with hydrological models, using climate-model data generated in the ACQWA project (see WP2 and WP3).

2. water availability: modification of the annual runoff volumes and of the hydrologic regimes (duration curves) of the alpine basins

3. hydropower availability: analysis of the potential impacts of changing climatic conditions on the operational performance of hydropower systems

4. evaluation of the pertinence and effectiveness of modelling methods in water resources management for hydropower targets in alpine regions. End-users will play a key role leading to the definition of model approaches for economic and operational sustainability of reservoir management in the future.

5. at the scale of the Rhône, Po and some Pyrenees catchments, to model and predict the potential impacts of climatic changes on river invertebrate diversity. This will be based upon i) outputs from the climate and hydrological models (WP2), ii) existing data from Switzerland and Pyrenees and iii) the GRASP modelling approach (Lehmann et al., 2002a,b).

6. to sample stream invertebrate communities and habitat parameters in a set of alpine streams in order to validate outputs from predictive models. Sites in the Swiss Alps and the Pyrenees where data were gathered 10 years ago under a previous EU project (Milner et al., 2001, Hannah et al. 2007) represent valuable test sites.

7. to identify changes in environmental variables leading to high potential impacts on biodiversity, including rare and endemic species, in studied regions in order to upscale to other vulnerable alpine river systems.

8. mean winter air temperature and water availability: investigation about the possibilities for future artificial snow making conditions according to climatic changes.

9. snow precipitation and snow cover duration: investigation about the possibilities for practising alpine and cross-country skiing at different altitudes, according to future climatic conditions.

10. To determine the water requirement in agriculture, and implications of increasing drought risks for agricultural production.