Ongoing Projects

Swiss Competence Center for Energy Research - Supply of Electricity (SCCER-SoE)


The impact of climate change on hydropower production in Switzerland revealed substantial uncertainties related to the water resources that will be available in 30 to 50 years. SCCER-SoE aim at leading research in climate modelling, glacier and snow research to significantly reduce these uncertainties and provide a more secure basis to hydropower industry to decide on long-term investments. The project is part of Task 2.1: Morphoclimatic controls on future hydropower production.

Project details: Generation of very high-resolution climate scenarios for hydropower projection – addressing climate uncertainty and extreme events

The main objective of this project is to generate very high-resolution climate scenarios for hydropower projection for the mid and end of the 21th century using state of the art global and regional climate models and greenhouse gas scenario ensemble. For that purpose a new stochastic weather generator is being developed with the aim of formulating a high spatial and temporal resolution (e.g. 1 km x 1 km and 5 min) for simulating key climate variables (e.g. precipitation, temperature, cloud cover, etc.) at local scale and over a raster. This will allow better exploring the uncertainties in the projected climate scenarios at basin scale, which result from emission scenarios, natural-stochastic climate variability, and global circulations models.

Climate change and its consequences on hydrology in Switzerland (Hydro-CH2018)

About Hydro-CH2018

Hydro-CH2018 initiative is lead by FOEN's Hydrology Division (Swiss Federal Office for the Environment). The objective of this project is to provide the required hydrological knowledge for climate change adaptation measures for many users ranging from authorities and economic actors to private stakeholders.

Project details: Evaluation of future hydrological scenarios using a stochastic high-resolution climate data

The goal of this project is to assess the impact of climate change on the hydrological response of three relatively unregulated catchments in Switzerland using the new CH2018 national climate scenarios that will be soon released (September 2017). High temporal and spatial resolution gridded climate variables, on the hourly and hundreds of meters scales, will be stochastically simulated to form ensembles representing the future climate. Climate uncertainty emerges from the GHG emission scenarios will be addressed by considering the three major possible climate paths: RCP2.6, RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. A fully distributed hydrological model, capable of simulating streamflow over a complex terrain, will be used. The assessment will provide uncertainties estimates associated with the impact predictions, as this would provide a state-of-the-art basis for the development of a sounder climate change adaptation strategy.

Weather radar-derived spatiotemporal characteristics of extreme rainfall intensities and their scaling with temperature

Project summary

Extreme rainfall intensity is one of the key factors for triggering natural hazards. The current scientific basis is that extreme rainfall intensity scales with temperature according to the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship, which expresses the capacity of the atmosphere to hold water. A major limitation of current research is that the absolute majority of studies that examined the relationship between extreme rainfall intensity and temperature were conducted using rain-gauges, i.e. point estimates of rainfall. Only few exceptions took advantage of the distributed information provided by weather radars. We are at the point where high-resolution rainfall data derived from a weather radar systems can be meaningfully used to characterize the spatial and temporal patterns of extreme rainfall intensity and to explore the relationship between those patterns and air temperature. In this way the true peak rainfall intensity can be directly measured, especially for convective events, regardless of whether it was hitting the rain-gauge or not.

The aim of this project is to put together top experts in the field to analyze the extreme rainfall intensity in the spatio-temporal resolution associated with flash floods, i.e. in a spatial range of 100 m to 100 km and a temporal range of 5 min to 3 h. A specific focus will be devoted to the analysis of convective rain cells over the eastern Mediterranean region, which often are the trigger of flash floods, especially in semiarid and arid climates.

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