The role of glaciers and permafrost on watershed hydrology and the effects of streamflow on hydroelectric operations

September 11, 2013 • Filed under: News — melanie.rohr

Contrary to common belief, Friday the 13th is a lucky day for WERC and the scientific community as this Friday, September 13, 2013 marks the continuation of our weekly seminar series. WERC/IARC researcher Anna Liljedahl and hydrologic software consultant Jörg Schulla will kick off the series with their presentation on river and glacier hydrology, the impacts of glacier wastage on hydropower stations as well hydrologic modeling.
Please join us this upcoming Friday for the very first seminar of the 2013/2014 academic year.

PLEASE NOTE LOCATION CHANGE: this seminar is held at Rasmuson Library Media Classroom, room 340, not its usual place in Duckering 531!

Friday Seminar Series

  • What: Hydrologic projections of glacierized basins for hydroelectric operations in Europe and Southcentral Alaska
  • Who: Jörg Schulla (Hydrologic software consultant, Zurich) and Anna Liljedahl (WERC/IARC)
  • When: 3:30-4:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 13
  • Where: Rasmuson Library Media Classroom, room 340

Aerial view of Susitna River and green hillsides

Critical to any effective hydroelectric development is a firm understanding of the basin-wide controls on river runoff and how seasonal and long-term reservoir recharge may change over the course of the structure’s life-span (~100 years). Permafrost and glaciers play a major role in controlling watershed hydrology and the melting of ice may alter the future quantity and seasonality of stream flow.

This presentation will provide a brief overview of the first year’s effort in the Susitna study, which combines hydrology and glacier field measurements with computational modeling, projected impacts of glacier wastage on European hydropower stations and recent updates to WaSiM (Water balance Simulation Model). In order to effectively represent the hydrology of a glaciated discontinuous permafrost landscape, new additions include a subsurface heat transport module and a dynamic glacier retreat module.