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The impact of large dams on the climate: A global climate modelling study. (FWOTM920)

Humans have constructed more than 45 000 large dams across the globe for irrigation, water supply, flood control, and hydropower generation. Dams have a large influence on the water cycle by altering the overall global water budget. Therefore, their role is of inevitable importance when assessing runoff and water availability. In addition, dammed lakes influence regional meteorological conditions by changing atmospheric heat and moisture budgets. However, a thorough understanding of the effects of dams on the climate is currently lacking. This is remarkable, as two-way interactions between water resources and climate are likely to set future water availability in many regions.

The aim of this project is therefore to assess the impacts of dams on the climate at the local, regional and global scale. More specifically, the proposed project will contribute (i) by including the representation of dams in an earth system model, (ii) by assessing the added value of this
inclusion for realistic climate modeling, (iii) by quantifying the total effect of reservoirs on the 20th century climate with particular focus on climate extremes such as heat waves, droughts and intense precipitation, and (iv) by separating the local and downstream contributions to this total climate impact. The outcomes of this research will contribute to improved climate change projections and will lead the way towards assessing the relation between climate change and future water availability.
Date:1 Oct 2018 →  30 Sep 2020
Disciplines:Coastal and estuarine hydraulics