New article: Assessment of uncertainties in a complex modeling chain for predicting reservoir sedimentation under changing climate

A paper related to Dirt-X has been published: It is titled “Assessment of uncertainties in a complex modeling chain for predicting reservoir sedimentation under changing climate” and the authors are María Herminia Pesci, Kilian Mouris, Stefan Haun and Kristian Förster.

Photo that shows the heading of tje article.
Click on the photo to access the article.

The Leibniz University of Hannover together with the University of Stuttgart assessed the uncertainties that arise when applying a complex modeling chain for predicting reservoir sedimentation under changing climate. The modeling chain consists of the water balance model WaSiM, the soil erosion and sediment transport model combination RUSLE-SEDD and the 3d hydro-morphodynamic reservoir model SSIIM2. In order to assess the propagation of uncertainties throughout the modeling chain, approximate model parameter uncertainties were quantified and compared to the uncertainties originating from climate models, which were represented by the spread of the climate projections (considering 3 GCM and 3 RCM). The results show that the model parameter uncertainties are much smaller than the spread of climate projections and are important not only for DIRT-X, but also for other modelers who would like to communicate different sources of uncertainty in complex modeling chains, including climate impact models,

Upcoming webinar series: Securing European water resources in a changing climate

An illustrated photo with a dam.

Do you work with water resources, e.g. hydropower, food agencies or in a water- or environmental authority? Would you like to know more about how the changing climate and socioeconomic conditions may influence water reservoirs and the services they provide to different economic sectors? Then join us in March for a 3-part webinar series where findings from the EU project DIRT-X will be presented!

The Webinars:

  1. Climate impact indicators and insights for hydropower from interconnected energy systems: A pan-European perspective (March 2nd, 14:00-15:00 CET)
  2. Hydrological climate services and ecological impacts: insights from a coastal use case (March 16th, 14:00-15:00 CET)
  3. Hydro-climatic change and sediment dynamics: Insight from two hydropower use cases (March 23rd, 14:00-15:30 CET)

Your key takeaways:

  • Learn more about how reservoirs are affected by sediment, now and in a future climate, and how this may affect your type of operations.
  • Discover the world of climate impact indicators, and how they can be useful for cross-sectoral assessments

Get in touch with the DIRT-X team during the Q&A, and support the future content and development of water- and climate services for your sector!

The webinars are held online in English and are free of charge.

REGISTER HERE and stay tuned for more information!

Presentations and conferences

  1. Bartosova A, Arheimer B, de Lavenne A, Capell R, and Strömqvist J, 2021. Assessing robustness of large-scale hydrological and sediment modeling using nested domains under current and changing climate. Oral presentation at The XIth Scientific Assembly of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS 2022), 29 May to 3 June 2022, Montpellier (France).
  2. Bartosova A, Brendel C, et al., 2022. Advancing large scale hydrological and sediment modeling for hydropower industry operations. Oral presentation at HYDRO 2022, 25-27 April 2022, Strasbourg, France.
  3. Bartosova A, Arheimer B, de Lavenne A, Capell R, and Strömqvist J, 2021. Assessing uncertainty in large-scale hydrological and sediment modelling using nested domains under current and changing climate. Oral presentation at The 24th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation (MODSIM2021), 5-9 December 2021, Sydney, Australia, (Online).
  4. Bartosova A, Arheimer B, de Lavenne A, Capell R, and Strömqvist J, 2021. Are large scale models useful? A case of nested model domains for assessing current and future stream runoff and sediments. Presented at The EGU General Assembly, 19-30 April 2021, (Online).
  5. Bartosova A, de Lavenne A, Mussuza J, Strömqvist J, and Arheimer B (2019) Exploring global sediment sources, processes, and impacts with a global dynamic model. Poster at International Interdisciplinary Conference on Land Use and Water Quality Conference, Aarhus, Denmark, 3-6 June 2019.
  6. de Lavenne A., Bartosova, Strömqvist J., Arheimer B (2020). Accounting for discharge simulation performances and observation quality for modelling sediment at global scale. Poster presentation at European Geosciences Union General Assembly, Vienna, Austria, 4-8 May 2020.
  7. de Lavenne A, Bartosova A, Strömqvist J, Lindström G, Musuuza J, and Arheimer B (2019) Global drivers of sediment fluxes. Poster at The 27th IUGG General Assembly, Montreal, Canada, 8-18 July, 2019.
  8. de Lavenne A, Musuuza J, Bartosova A, and Arheimer B (2019) From annual to daily sediment fluxes modelling at global scale. Poster at European Geosciences Union General Assembly, Vienna, Austria, 7-12 April 2019.
  9. Mouris, K., Schwindt, S., Haun, S., Pesci, M. H., Förster, K., Rüther, N., Schwarzwälder, K., and Wieprecht, S.: Climate reanalysis data with global coverage enable sediment load prediction in the absence of systematic field data, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8432,, 2021, CO Meeting Organizer EGU21 (
  10. Pesci, M. H., Mouris, K., Bosshard, T., and Förster, K.: How do changes in model parameters compare to climate change impacts signals? A case study of a modeling chain to predict reservoir inflow and sedimentation processes in the Devoll Catchment (Albania), EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-8002,, 2022, CO Meeting Organizer EGU22 (

Invited presentations

  1. Bartosova A, 2020. Large scale modeling under changing climate and socioeconomics. Roorkee Water Conclave, Roorkee, India, 26-28 February 2020.
  2. Bartosova A, 2022. Understanding the interplay between sediment regime and water management structures at a large scale. The 2nd Roorkee Water Conclave, 2-4 March 2022, Roorkee, India (Online).
  3. Bartosova A, 2022. Evaluating sediment Delivery Impacts on Reservoirs in changing climaTe and society aCROSS scales – DIRT-X overview. Banja workshop, 28-29 March, 2022 (Online).

Introducing seasonal snow memory into the RUSLE

The University of Stuttgart have incorporated seasonal snow memory into the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) and combined it with the SEdiment Delivery Distributed (SEDD) model in a recent scientific publication. The inclusion of snow-related processes, especially the separation of non-erosive snowfall from erosive snowmelt, was found to greatly enhance model accuracy. These results represent a major improvement for estimating suspended sediment loads, especially in data-sparse regions, further enhanced by the use of freely available satellite imagery and climate reanalysis datasets. These results are important for DIRT-X applications as long-term predictions of bathymetric change, necessary when modeling climate change scenarios, will require an objective calculation procedure for the sediment load as a function of a catchment’s specific characteristics and hydroclimatic features.

Read more:

A photo of an avalanche cone.
Figure: Avalanche cones from Tyrol, Austria. Photo curtesy of Sebastian Schwindt.

DIRT-X field excursion 2022

Before the GA in the end of June we participated in a field excursion.

Our first stop, after an amazing boat ride, was at NTNU’s Sletvik biological field station where we learned about their teaching/research in the bay of Hopavågen with special hydrological features due to its narrow inlet from the sea. Read more about Sletvik here.

The view behind a boat in Norway with the norwegian flag.
A photo from the boat ride.
The narrow inlet.
Narrow inlet from the sea.
The participants by the field station infront of a body of water and a mountain.
The eleven participants of the field excursions by NTNU’s biological field station








Our second stop was at Follsjoe Dam, operated by Statkraft. We learned about new construction work being carried out to bolster the dam according to new regulations. Dams in Norway are reviewed every 15 years and checked for compliance with current regulations. This dam is special due to the chosen method for bolstering the dam (riprap), which is human-placed rock material to protect the dam against erosional processes. Check out the cool pictures below!

Downstream of the dam, a hydraulic structure has been added to prevent wild salmon from entering the river, to control for parasitic infestation.

The participants at a lecture.
The group at the dam.
The dam bolstering method.
The bolstering method at Follsjoe Dam.









People standing with orange vests and security helments.
The group at the Follsjoe Dam.
The bolstering method at Follsjoe Dam.
By the Follsjoe Dam.












Our last stop was to see a sediment trapping basin, reducing sedimentation of the reservoir located further downstream. At the photos below you can see basin.








Stay tuned for a post from the GA!

DIRT-X Hybrid General Assembly

The Dirt-X General Assembly will be held June 29-30th, 2022 in Trondheim. It is a Hybrid meeting which means that there will also be participants joining the meeting online. All the work packages are represented in the agenda and there will be a number of topics presented and discussed.

The general focus of the meeting is to:
1. Improved understanding of catchment processes and their interactions with reservoir processes and economics/energy.
2. Climate impact indicators (CIIs) useful to our stakeholders as well as different sectors.
3. Reporting our achievements, coordination among WPs and planning future work.

The day before the General Assembly, on June 28th, there will be a field trip organized by  NTNU.

Stay tuned for an update from the meeting and some photos!


Large-Scale Hydrological and Sediment Modeling in Nested Domains under Current and Changing Climate

SMHI investigated how well can large scale models predict runoff and sediment concentrations in a recent scientific publication. The comparison of historical simulations for three nested model domains (global, continental, and national) found that simulated sediment concentrations varied considerably among the nested models in spatial patterns, whereas runoff values were more similar. For indicators of future change, variables that were calibrated directly provided more consistent message than those derived from other model outputs. These results are important for DIRT-X applications as the cross-scale analyses give a better understanding and quantification of impacts and uncertainties in climate impact assessments.

Read more:

Global distribution of sediment concentrations from WW-HYPE
Figure 2. Global distribution of sediment concentrations partly follows the distribution of runoff at a first look. However, closer examination shows low sediment concentrations present in areas of both low and medium runoff (e.g., northern Europe and Asia).


Modelling Workshop

The modelling workshop was organized by the Leibniz Universität Hannover (LUH) and gathered around 11 research partners during one and a half day of joint work. It was held 28-29 September online via Zoom. 

The main purpose was to identify the interfaces among models that constitute the modelling chain of each study case: Banja, Gepatsch and Orust/Tjörn. Moreover, a special emphasis was given to the potential output variables produced by each model, which serve as input variables for the subsequent model in the chain.

This allowed us to understand the actions needed to study the propagation of uncertainties from selected model parameters (Task 2.2 ”Targeted model experiments”) through the modelling chain. Although the final uncertainty analysis will be carried out by LUH, the active participation of all involved modellers helped to understand uncertainties in the modelling chain. The final results will be published in D2.1 ” Report on uncertainty in climate impact models”.

Example of the Banja modelling chain and involved variables.

Excursion to the Gepatsch Reservoir

In the beginning of September, seven members of the project group visited the Gepatsch Reservoir Study area in the Upper Kaunertal Valley in Tyrol, Austria. The two-day excursion offered insights into the location, topography and landcover of the study area as well as the operating principle of the reservoir and its diversions. 

During those two days, in total three different water intakes were visited: the Verpeil intake (right), the Pitzbach intake (below left) and the Taschachbach (below right). 

1) At the Verpeil intake, which is a part of the diversion “Kaunertal East”, the working principle of the intake setup was explained.
2) At the Pitzbach intake, the group watched the flushing of the sediment from the desilting chamber to the riverbed, after probing the amount of bedload trapped in the desilting chamber.
3) The Taschachbach intake differs from the others: instead of the Tyrolean Weir and the desilting chamber, the coarse sediment is trapped in a basin behind an arch dam.

The first stop at the reservoir was the gate valve tunnel, before we went up to the lake (below, left). After a short stroll over the dam crest, were we could enjoy the view over the reservoir to the glaciers, we went below ground again. The exploration tunnel on the western side of the reservoir partly collapsed some years ago, due to a slow downward movement in the slope above. This sliding movement of the mountain is permanently observed with extensometers installed to the tunnel wall (below, right), in order to detect any accelerations in the sliding process and eventually prevent the initiation of a landslide.

Our next stop took us to the measurement stations of Gepatsch Alm and Weissee (below, left), before we went up to the glaciers, chasing the last sunrays. Overlooking the remaining ice masses and the surrounding mountain slopes we could clearly see the consequences of climate change. Snowless areas and foil covered patches of snow bear witness of the glacier retreat and melting permafrost (below, right). The now uncovered rock faces and fields of loose scree gave us an impression of the sediment amounts which will inevitably be transported to the reservoir in the next decades. This moment demonstrated again the importance of our project and the need for an adapted management strategy based on profound research outcomes.

Many thanks go out to Dr. Johannes Schöber and Franz Eiter from the TIWAG, for taking their time to show us around and providing us with helpful information.

the measurement stations of Gepatsch Alm and Weissee.
Snowless areas and foil covered patches of snow on the glacier

Online Dirt-X General Assembly

The DIRT-X General Assembly was held online, 17-18th June 2020.

The project partners gave an overview of the progress in different activities during the first project year, found synergies in the case studies, planned upcoming work in climate impact evaluations, and discussed new knowledge and scientific discoveries made in the project so far.

The highlights from the meeting were:

  • Research into hydrological modelling, sedimentation, bed load and coastal zone processes in the case studies has begun and the most suitable approach for each study depends strongly on the quality of the input data. The intensity of heavy rainfall events, which cause soil erosion to a high degree, cannot, but must be represented in precipitation data with accurate spatio-temporal resolution.
  • Bias adjustment of climate data to local conditions is mostly completed. The case studies should be able to test the impact of changing climate by the end of the year
  • E-HYPE, SMHI’s large scale hydrological model was linked to UU’s energy model. The model is being refined to better represent erosion and sediment transport processes at the continental scale. The calibration of the global sediment model was completed soon after the GA.
  • The European power system model has been set up and configured (based on an overview of basic socio-economic assumptions per SSP narrative at MS level, considered implication of future land use and sectoral water withdrawal &consumption at grid cell level).

This was also the first time the project partners met with the newly established DIRT-X project Advisory Board and received feedback from external experts represented on the Board.

Participants online at the Dirt-X General Assembly in June, 2020

A short quiz on the project case studies, and a virtual tour around Europe to visit various ‘favourite reservoirs’ of project members were held to enjoy some social time with everyone.

For more information on the DIRT-X project description, visit