Workshop Summaries - Day 2

Session 5

Chairman: Dr. Gilles Sommeria
Rapporteur: Dr. Fayez Abdulla

The GEWEX-WRAP Project: Dr. Lawrence Martz, Chair, GEWEX Water Resource Applications Project, University Saskatchewan, Canada

Dr. Lawrence Martz, chair of GEWEX’s Water Resources Application Project (WRAP) introduced WRAP to workshop participants. He indicated that GEWEX research on global hydrology is driven by global concerns and by scientific investigations of climate change. GEWEX attempts to achieve a global understanding of water and energy cycle through interdisciplinary research and by capitalizing on the availability of satellite observations. Dr. Martz then discussed GEWEX objectives of measuring, modeling, and predicting global hydrologic and energy fluxes and storages and highlighted WRAP’s role in strengthening GEWEX linkage to water resources management and operational hydrologic forecasting communities. This is accomplished through (a) dialogue with both communities, (b) demonstration of skills in predicting climate change impacts, and (c) collaboration with operational agencies to improve predictions. The presentation also included a brief survey of WRAP activities over the past two years, and an overview of key issues, which emerged during various community dialogue workshops. Dr. Martz provided two examples of WRAP relevant projects including the Water Poverty Index (WPI) and the Hydrological Ensemble Prediction Experiment (HEPEX) project. He concluded his presentation by reiterating the objectives of the ongoing workshop and its role in articulating key regional water resources issues and communicating these issues to UNESCO, WCRP and to GEWEX leadership.

Recent approaches to water management in arid/semi arid regions and the need to assess future uncertainty including ensemble forecasting: Dr. Ezio Todini, Earth and Geo-Environmental Sciences, University of Bologna, Italy

The main objective of Professor Todini’s presentation is to survey state of the art in water resources management tools that are (a) capable of incorporating future climate uncertainties, (b) capable of addressing the distributed nature if hydrologic data and information, and (c) utilize state of the art in decision theory, and information technologies to provide water resources managers with the means to address climate change and variability scenarios. Dr. Todini started by briefly reviewing the history of water resources management theory leading to multiple criteria decision approaches and the introduction of the notion of sustainability and its integrative implications. Conceptually, these implications include, water as limiting of development, environmental concerns, socio-economic factors, and the consideration of the impacts of climate change and of uncertainties in observation and predictions. Such requires comprehensive analysis of the above-mentioned factors in an integrative manner, which forms the basis of integrated water resources management decision support systems. Dr. Todini introduced several examples of such systems and highlighted the pros and cons of these systems. He concluded the presentation by providing brief description of a new tool (WaterStrategyMan DSS), which takes into account the deficiencies of traditional WSM-DSS tools. This is accomplished by first identifying the key objectives of WSM-DSS as (a) support the strategy analysis at regional level and (b) compare strategies on the basis of different indicators. For DSS to accomplish these objectives, it must take into account regional development priorities, social and economic constraints, environmental constraints, and local, national or international legal constraints and directives. In the reminder of his presentation Dr. Todini exemplified how the WaterStrategyMan DSS accomplishes these tasks through the integration of GIS enabled user interface and modern decision theory.

Session 6

Chairman: Dr. Thomas Maurer
Rapportuer: Dr. Amin Shahban

Case Studies/Interventions from the Arab Regions (Continued)
  • Applying Climate Change Scenarios for Use in Water Resource Management in Arid and Semi-arid Regions A Case Study for Yemen: Dr. Abdulmalek Al-Jibly, Professor, Geography Department, San’a & UAE Universities
    Dr. Al-Jibly presented the results of his study of the potential impacts of climate change on Yemen for the decade of 2050. The study consisted of three main steps. The first step included identifying greenhouse gases emissions scenarios from the IPCC-1992 report. Dr. Jibly selected the IS92 scenario because it represented a mid range estimate of future greenhouse gases emissions, was used as a reference emission scenario by the International Negotiating Committee of the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change and because of the availability of technical description documentation of the scenario’s underlying assumptions. Results from 14 different General Circulation Models (GCM) were considered and three (OSU--close to the average of the 14 models ensemble, UKHI, and ECHAM3TR--upper and lower bounds of predictions over Yemen) models were selected for the study area. Dr. Jibly found that all 3 scenarios projected increase in air surface temperature for Yemen by the decade 2050s with ECHAM3TR wet scenario producing the highest increase of temperature of 2.4 -+ 0.6 deg. C particularly in the country’s North. The magnitude of precipitation change is highly variable with increase between +26% to +254% for Tehama Coast and mountains, and (+79% to +230%) for central and eastern plateaus predicted by the wet runs and a country-wide decrease of 49% by dry runs. Dr. Jibly emphasized that while climate scenario are excellent tools, the complexities associated with identifying these scenarios limits their applicability in general, and over arid-semi-arid regions, more particularly. Additional limitations include the inadequate consideration considerations of the regional characteristics, micro and local environments and lack of participation of Arab governments in drafting these scenarios. He concluded by recommending care when using climate model scenarios, encouraging participants and UNESCO to gain higher level of local participation from climatologist and hydrologists, and requesting that the characteristics of arid and semi-arid regions be incorporated into the design of both climate models and of climate scenarios.
  • Nile Forecast System, An Overview: Dr. Mohamed Abdel_Aty Sayed, Manager, Nile Forecast Center Planning Sector, Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation
    Dr. Sayed provided presentation introduced the participants to the activities of the Nile Forecast Centre, particularly with respect to the utilization of the Nile Forecast System (NFS) to provide both deterministic and probabilistic streamflow and stage forecasts at various locations along the River Nile. The presentation included a brief description of the system’s various components, which include processors (pre and post), hydrologic models, data-bases, user interface, and GIS. The system is capable of assimilating various types of satellite data, the primary of which is METEOSAT based precipitation estimates, which are produced locally from METEOSAT data. The hydrologic simulation is conducted using water-balance model (precipitation excess), a hill-slope model for overland flow routing, a channel routing model, and an extended streamflow prediction component that uses historical records and current states of the system to produce probabilistic forecasts. NFS is also equipped with a data assimilation tool that allows the adjustment of model state variables as new observations become available. In addition, all forecast activities could be managed from within the decision support interface. The decision support interface also includes tropical lake module and specific modules for the Blue and White Nile as well as a module for High Aswan Dam and Lake Nasser. These are essential in answering management question that require multiple simulations and what-if scenarios. Dr. Sayed provided examples of such question, which includes the identification of hydropower potentials of proposed projects, search for win-win scenarios, up/down stream conflicts, and potential performance analysis of Lake Nasser and High Aswan Dam under severe conditions.
  • Remote Sensing Assessment of Potential Impacts of Climate Change and Adaptation in Egypt: Dr., M. El Raey, Professor, Institute of Climate Studies and Research, Univ. Alexandria, Egypt
    Dr. El Ray presented the results of several impact assessment studies conducted at the Institute of Climate Studies and Research. Recognizing that impacts of climate change would not be limited to changes in precipitation, but it could encompass the soil, sea level and coastal areas, as well as demand for fresh water, with potential change in the Nile river ranging from -78% to +30% according to various climate model scenarios. Dr. El Raey then focused on the utility of satellite data in conducting vulnerability studies in the coastal areas of Egypt, with emphasis on the Nile Delta in terms of identifying sites in need of protection, vulnerable land covers, areas if increased soil salinity, flood plain and flood path delineation. A quantitative example of potential impacts of various sea level rise scenarios on the city of Alexandria and surrounding Nile Delta cities was presented which revealed potential for serious, yet manageable impacts. Dr. Elraey discussed options of adaptations, which included periodic beach nourishment and integrated coastal management, and emphasized that vulnerability and adaptation continues to demand further investigation and improved observations. He concluded his presentation by providing a set of recommendations that included conservation, improved drainage systems and integrated coastal management approaches. In addition, his recommendations also included building capacity to conducted.
  • Drought Forecast in Iran; where are we and what we need to do Dr. Nazemosadat, M.J, Professor, Climate Research Center, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran
    Dr. Nazemosadat’s started his presentation by stressing that water scarcity in the Middle East necessitates effective management, an element of which is climate predictions. In Iran for example, the economical damages of atmospheric disasters including flood, frost, heat waves, and particularly drought are considerably higher than the corresponding damages of earthquake, with the largest proportion of loss occurring during the 1998-2001 recent drought. In addition, earthquake damage could be exacerbated by drought. With prediction being the key element in natural disaster management, Dr. Nazemosadat argued for increased local, regional, and international cooperation in exchanging climate and weather forecasting expertise. He then provided a brief description of the drought prediction efforts carried at the Climate Research Center at Chiraz University, which include improved statistical and mathematical procedures such as principal component analysis, Empirical Orthogonal Function, Canonical Correlation Analysis, Monte Carlo re-sampling Analysis, Bootstrap analysis, and Neural Network analysis. These efforts have some skills in predicting seasonal precipitation based on the utility of ENSO signal as indicator. Dr. Nazemosadat concluded by presenting the results of some of his analysis, which indicate that warm ENSO events are associated with higher probabilities of wet autumn, while cold ENSO events are associated with higher probabilities of dryer autumn, particularly in the arid/semi-arid south.
Science Panel Response

Session 7

Chairman: Dr. Mohamad Abuldrazzak (Dr. El-Raey chaired)
Rapportuer: Dr. Lawrence Martz/Dr. Radwan Al-Weshah

Coupled modeling for water resources applications: Dr. Alain Piertonrio, NWRI – Environment Canada

Dr. Pietroniro presentation provided the workshop participants with an example of basin scale water and energy modelling experiment by introducing the activities conducted at the National Water Research Institute in Canada, with particular focus on those related the Mackenzie GEWEX Study (MAGS). He started by outlining the differences between hydrologic and atmospheric models and outlined MAGS’s modelling strategy, which consists of utilizing various combinations of models at various spatial and temporal scales. Dr. Pietroniro then described the general strategy used by NWRI Canada to improve hydrologic modelling through coupled models that address the atmosphere-surface-subsurface components. Scientists at NWRI use multiple models “a family of models”. A central element of the approach is the Grouped Response Units (GRU), which represent areas of the watershed with similar hydrological response, each area is a collection of modeling grid cells, which provide the connection too the column-based atmospheric component and the directional routing components. The family of models included (a) WATFLOOD – Distributed Water Balance Model (b) WATCLASS – distributed water and energy balance model, (c) WATISBA – Simplified land surface scheme for numerical weather prediction models, (d) WATPAZ, which is a digital elevation processor, and (e) EnSIM, which provides the visualization component of the modeling strategy. Dr. Pietroniro presented examples of model performance and discussed the ongoing work within the Hydrologic Ensemble Prediction Experiment (HEPEX), which aims at representing uncertainties about future conditions into streamflow forecasts. He concluded by emphasizing the role of coordinated studies in bringing together hydrologic science and atmospheric science communities to provide the necessary integration mechanisms.

Global data products for water resource application: Dr. Thomas Maurer, Global Runoff Data Center

Dr. Maurer’s presentation focused on global data products for water resources applications. Indicating that disaster mitigation, risk management, assessment of intensity or requency of floods and droughts, and of the Impact of global change/climate change and variability onwater resources availability and use all require the availability of runoff data, he emphasized that much of the questions associated with the above issues can only be answered at global scale. While no evidence suggest a significant global trend over the last 20 years, regional anomalies occur and lead to the following questions how are regional trends distributed?, what is the human influence ?, and will intensity or frequency of extremes increase?. The Global Runoff Data Center (GRDC) collects, archives, and analyzes runoff data in support of answering these questions at global and regional scales. Dr. Maurer provided a brief history of GRDC and highlighted the fact that many areas within the arid/semi-arid Middle East continue to be under represented in terms of station record length, continuity, and overall availability. GRDC has facilitated several cooperative research studies on topics that include, but are not limited to global runoff, water balance, water availability and indicators, and trend analysis. He stressed that the reliability of many future studies will depend on the availability of discharge data to support such efforts. These now include topics such as relation between flow regimes and potential political conflicts on water in trans-boundary river basins, estimating hydrological extremes of the 20th century in major river basins, development of a physically consistent earth system model, streamflow validation for land surface models, and the examination of extreme precipitation and flood events in Europe during the past 100 years. Subsequently, Dr. Maurer presented some of GRDC products and their relevance to several international global modelling and research efforts such as the Global Land Data Assimilation Systems (GLDAS), and reported on the improved access and availability of GRDC stations in near real-time.

Highlighting water scarcity and overuse with high-resolution global runoff fields: Dr. Ellen Douglas, Univ. New Hampshire, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space

Dr. Douglas started by introducing the global Water Systems Project (GWSP). She stressed that integration across elements of local water systems, but with global perspective is a center GWSP objective. She issued an invitation to participant to Join Ranks of Initial Set of GWSP National & Regional Committees. Responding to some of the key questions raised by the workshop participant during previous discussions, the reminder of Dr. Douglas’s presentation focused on key water indicators including the Relative Water Stress Index (RWSI), Water Reuse Index (WRI), Vulnerability Index, and a suite of Water Scarcity Indicators at Global to Basin Scales. For each index, the geographic distribution of the index and the importance of spatial scale were discussed. In addition, Dr. Douglas demonstrated the potential use of water scarcity indicators as means to assess the impacts of climate change with consideration to socioeconomic factors such as population increase. In the second section of her presentation. the River Basin Information System (RBIS), which is a web-based management tool hosted at (, was also presented. The system allows users to view visualize a large number indicators and data sets. Using these data sets, the system allows the used to compute composite indicators and to design their own indicators. Dr. Douglas then discussed the concept of virtual water as means to link water scarcity and food production. Virtual water in crop production is computed as the sum of modeled evapotranspiration (AET) over rain-fed croplands and potential evapotranspiration (PET) over irrigated croplands using output from Water Balance Model and a GIS. A report on recent progress in quantifying the impacts of climate change and population growth on several water impoundment related issues such as sediment trapping, sea level rise, and the acceleration of land subsidence was presented and the relationship between water scarcity and social conflicts was also discussed.

Remote Sensing and the impact of climate variability on water resources: Dr. Bisher Imam, Center for Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing, Univ. California, Irvine

In his presentation, Dr. Imam discussed state of the art in remote sensing technologies and their relevance to climate change, variability, and water resources. Responding to some earlier questions pertaining to data availability, he introduced a new palmer drought index data set developed by NCAR and argued that such data sets could be verified against anecdotal and quantitative information available to experts in the region. After a brief discussion of the spatiotemporal scales of water resources issues, the presentation linked these scales to various insitu observations (streamflow, precipitation), predictive models, and remote sensing information of key hydro-meteorological variables (snow cover, precipitation, atmospheric sounding, clouds, skin temperature), oceanic (sea surface temperature, ocean color), and land (DEM, Land use, Land cover, FPAR, leaf area index, and NDVI) and related models such as GCM, Mesoscale, Land surface, hydrologic/hydraulic, and water resources applications. The presentation also introduced some of the data-base development efforts associated with G-WADI including the updated aridity index and the global precipitation product produced at the University of California, Irvine through the Precipitation Estimation Algorithm from Artificial Neural Network (PERSIANN) and the G-WADI global precipitation retrieval system developed by the Hydrologic Data and Information System (HyDIS) group and UCI. Dr. Imam concluded by presenting some of the recent advances in public domain data distribution systems, forecast evaluation decision support tools, data processing and visualization tools. Also, anticipated low cost instruments and future hydrologically relevant remote sensing mission (SMOS, GPM) were briefly discussed.

Supporting water professionals in arid and semi-arid areas: hydroclimatology information needs and G-WADI’s knowledge transfer challenge: Dr. Gary Woodard, SAHRA, University of Arizona

Dr. Gary Woodard reported on the recent accomplishments of the G-WADI knowledge transfer database being developed at the center for Semi Arid Hydrology and Riparian Areas. After discussing the objectives of web-based, workshops/short courses, and print publications as key knowledge transfer tools, Dr. Woodard introduced SAHRA’s accomplishments with respect to each of these tools. With respect to the web-tools, SAHRA’s G-WADI site currently provides access to (a) Information on G-WADI and other UNESCO water initiatives (b) information on affiliated water centers, (c) Global Water News Watch E-zine, (4) Water News Tracker service (free subscription), (5) HydroArchive software sharing service, (6) HyDIS Hydrologic Data Information System data sets, (7) Resources on isotopes and other tracers in hydrology and (8) Teacher resources through the GLOBE program. He then proceeded to provide demonstrations of some of these tools with focus on the global water news network and news watch, which provide access to water news from more than 12 different new sources in the middle east, and allows the users to subscribe with customized topic, language, and frequency of acquisition of news-clips. Dr. Woodard also introduced various online tutorials and data-bases developed by SAHRA and will be made freely available to the international community under the auspices of G-WADI.