Doctoral dissertation: Climate change affects floods and water resources in Finland in the 21st century
Climate scenarios project increases in air temperature and precipitation in Finland in the 21st century. Climate change will affect the hydrologic cycle and water resources. In her Aalto University doctoral dissertation, Noora Veijalainen, M.Sc. (Tech.), applied hydrological models and several climate scenarios to estimate the impacts of climate change on discharges, water levels and floods in Finland. The results offer background information for adapting to climate change, especially regarding lake regulation and flood risk management.
- The study shows that seasonal changes in discharges are the clearest effects of climate change. Higher air temperatures caused by climate change affect snow accumulation and melt resulting in increased winter discharges and decreased spring snowmelt discharges, explains Veijalainen.
Estimated changes in 100-year floods over the time period from 2070 to 2099 varied considerably depending on the location and catchment characteristics, timing of the floods and the applied climate scenario. Floods caused by spring snowmelt decreased or remained unchanged whereas autumn and winter floods caused by precipitation increased especially in large lakes and their outflow rivers.
Uncertainties in climate change impact estimates
Notable differences between the results yielded by different climate scenarios indicate uncertainties concerning the impacts of climate change which further accumulate due to the uncertainties inherent in models and methods. The results can be used as background information for adapting to climate change especially regarding lake regulation and flood risk management.
Several methods were applied - and comparisons made - in transferring the climate change signal from climate models to the hydrological model. The impacts of applied methods, climate scenarios and catchment characteristics on the results were also studied.
Doctoral dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology is presented for public examination and debate on Friday, June 1st, 2012 at the Aalto University School of Engineering. Opponent: Jonas Olsson, Reader at Lund University, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute
Doctoral dissertation "Estimation of climate change impacts on hydrology and floods in Finland": http://lib.tkk.fi/Diss/2012/isbn9789526046143/isbn9789526046143.pdf
Aalto University Water Engineering http://civil.aalto.fi/en/research/water/
Noora Veijalainen, M.Sc. (Tech.),
Finnish Environment Institute,
tel. +358 400 148 545,
firstname.lastname [at] ymparisto [dot] fi