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Seasonal Water Management for Semiarid Areas

WP2: Global and Regional Modeling: 

Characterization of Ecosystem State and Functionality
(KIT-ÖAI, TU Berlin, GFZ)

Motivation and objectives: In semiarid areas uncertainties from applying different global precipitation products to regional questions are especially large because of the small total rainfall sum and because precipitation often occurs as short but intense rainfall events, which may intensify the already existing water deficit for flora and fauna.

The objective of WP2 is to characterize state and function of semi-natural and irrigated ecosystems in view of the uncertainties in hydrometeorological information (WP1), combined with satellite earth observation-derived land surface information. WP2 is focusing on ecosystem functions and services that are strongly linked to the variation in precipitation (erosion control, surface cover, crop yields, …).

Methods: The dynamic vegetation model LPJ-GUESS quantifies ecosystem function and indicators for ecosystem services. Model simulations will identify how uncertainties in the amount of precipitation and its temporal and spatial distribution are reflected in, for example, crop yields, land cover, carbon sinks and ecosystem water balance. The latter is an important basis for the quantification of available water. The WASA-SED model will be refined to identify erosion hot-spots so that in response to projected states of the vegetation, expected seasonal sediment flows from large catchments can be assessed. These represent a potential risk for downstream water reservoirs. High spatio-temporal resolution satellite data (e.g. Sentinel mission) will be used to quantify the seasonal and long-term dynamic of vegetation status, land use and land cover for model assimilation. Thereby derived information will also be used to analyze the relationship between land cover and water availability for characterizing the carrying capacity.


This project was financed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research under the financial assistance agreement No 02WGR1421.


Karlsruhe Institute of
Technology (KIT)

Campus Alpin - Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-IFU)


Prof. Dr. Harald Kunstmann

Kreuzeckbahnstrasse 19
82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen