• Sustainable Development of the Amazon and its Surrounding Regions: The Interplay of Changing Climate, Hydrology, and Land Use

(02/2014 – Presente) Instituições envolvidas: Universidade de Harvard. Financiamento: Ministry of Environment, Sea and Land Protection of Italy

Ongoing agricultural expansion and other land use changes in Amazonia and the surrounding regions are expected to continue over the next several decades as global demand for food and biofuel increases and regional economies expand. The conversion of natural forest and cerrado ecosystems to pastureland and agricultural crops creates warmer and drier atmospheric conditions than the native vegetation. In addition, human induced climate change arising from increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is expected to push the Amazon region towards a warmer and drier state. In a number of recent climate modeling studies, the Amazon has been shown to exhibit two contrasting states for the water cycle and ecosystems of the region: a moist forested state, and an alternate drier and warmer state with sparser vegetation. This has raised the question of whether deforestation and conversion to agricultural land cause the atmosphere-vegetation-hydrologic system of the Amazon to switch from its current moist state to the warmer and drier one? And if so, will this new state have sufficient precipitation to sustain the natural and managed ecosystems, and hydropower operations in the region? In this study, we are answering these questions using (a) a newly-developed state-of-the-art coupled vegetation-atmosphere model to investigate the stability of the Amazonian hydrologic system (sometimes referred to as “rivers in the sky”, as well as accompanying river flows on the ground) to scenarios of land use and climate change and (b) models to assess the implications of hydrological changes on the hydropower and agricultural economies of Brazil. Post-doctoral candidates who have experience with integrated land-water-climate models and/or experience analyzing patterns and trends of land use and land use change are particularly encouraged to apply as are candidates with expertise in the hydrological drivers of the hydropower and agricultural systems.

  • Improve models for long- and short-term flood forecasting in temperate and semi-arid/tropical watersheds

(01/2013 – 12/2013) Instituições envolvidas: Universidade de Lund e UFAL. Financiamento: Vetenskapsrådet

We propose a cooperation between three institutes devoted to hydrological research in Brazil and in Sweden that integrates efforts in the area of meteorology, climatology, natural sciences and water resources engineering. The group of scientists involved is composed by hydrologists, climatologists and engineers with a common interest in the use of atmospheric information for hydrological modelling. Such a diverse research group allows research to be developed that can focus on one of the most difficult subjects in natural sciences: the interaction of time and space scales in the hydrologic regimes in Brazilian watersheds subject to semi-arid/tropical climate. Despite of being strongly affected by severe dry periods, which may long several months, a year or persist along two or more years, flooding is also a major problem in this area. Deficiency in infrastructure and in governmental apparatus and actions, together with the lack of local technically sound knowledge, substantially increase the vulnerability of the region to flooding disasters. Therefore, this research proposal has as a main goal of evaluating in detail precipitation forecasts and by using climate indexes, a regional atmospheric model coupled to a conceptual hydrological model, as well as, stochastic and conceptual hydrological modelling to produce short- and long-term flooding forecasts for semi-arid/tropical watersheds.

  • Impact of changes in the biosphere to local climate and hydrology – How biofuel plantations affect local atmospheric circulation and rivers

(02/2010 – 12/2013) Instituições envolvidas: Universidade de Lund. Financiamento: Vetenskapsrådet

The aim of this project is as follows: (1) adaptation and adjusting of a hydrological model to a characteristic river basin where sugar-cane plantation has been expanding significantly. (2) Analyse the capacity of a regional atmospheric model to simulate local climate in the same region as in (1). (3) Develop a two-way coupling of the atmospheric and hydrological models. (4) Adaptation of TIMESAT program to sugar-cane plantations (5) Carry out experiments designed to analyse the impacts of the change in vegetation on the river basin and how these impacts will affect the local climate and, (6) finally, significantly improve the knowledge of physical processes, and hopefully be able to quantify the impacts of the biofuel plantation on the local hydrology and climate.

  • Modelo hidrodinâmico e de transporte de grades não estruturadas para corpos d’água

(02/2008 – 12/2010) Instituições envolvidas: IPH/UFRGS. Financiamento: CNPq

Modelos matemáticos são largamente utilizados para entender os padrões de fluxo e o transporte de substâncias em ecossistemas aquáticos. Esta pesquisa foca no desenvolvimento de um modelo hidrodinâmico e de transporte de poluentes bidimensional para corpos d’água rasos que utiliza grades não estruturadas. O modelo foi aplicado no rio Guaíba, cujas águas banham a capital do estado do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre (ver video abaixo).