conference

39th IAHR World Congress (Granada, Spain)

The 39th World Congress organized by the International Association for Hydro-Environmental Research (IAHR) was held last week in Granada (south Spain; see figure below, left). Adina Moraru (work package 2) has attended this biennial congress that included 98 oral regular sessions, 15 special sessions, 4 high-level panels, 8 technical visits, hundreds of posters on display (see figure below, right) several side events, workshops and master classes.

The week was packed with meetings of different IAHR committees and special sessions. Adina attended the so-called “Institutes Meeting”, a networking-oriented side event (see upper three photographs below) where several public and private research instutions were invited to present their research and diversity (upper-left: Ana Adeva-Bustos from SINTEF, Norway, upper-center: Cristina Anacabe from IHE-Delft, the Netherlands). Tom Soo, the executive director for IAHR attended the meeting (upper-right photograph) and initiated a brainstorm for future events. Another interesting special session was the “Review of the IAHR Green Paper: Towards practical flood assessment for development projects“, coordinated by Stefan Haun (head of the Hydraulic Lab. at University of Stuttgart, Germany; lower photograph below) with Alastair Barnett (HYDRA Software, New Zealand; lower photograph below) and James Ball (University of Technology Sydney, Australia) as authors of the paper and invited speakers.

The breaks and late evenings were reserved for networking events especially oriented to early careers. For instance, the John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition held (see list of finalists in upper-left and upper-center figures below) before the Young Professionals Assembly and Young Professionals Night (upper-right photograph portraits some of the attendees to the latter networking event crossing Genil river). Adina (lower photograph, second from right to left in back row), as co-founder and president of IAHR Scandinavia Young Professionals Network (founded in late 2020), got a VIP invitation to the Young Professionals Night. During the evening, a Kahoot competition was arranged by the local YPN, IAHR Spain YPN, and prizes were handed to the winners (lower photograph: the 1st prize was handed to Markus Bähner, a friendly master student from TUM in Germany).

The oral presentations were grouped in themes, and Adina attended the ones focused on Computational and Experimental Methods and, of course, Extreme Events: from Droughts to Floods (see photographs below). Some highlights of these thematic sessions were presentations on the use of numerical models to investigate intermittent streams, i.e. small rivers that do not always contain flowing water, under increasingly pressing climate change conditions (left-hand figure: Prof. Michael Tritthart from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences BOKU, Vienna, Austria) or the recently developed drought prevention and management toolbox by the United Nations in collaboration with DHI (right-hand figure; UN Environment Programme-DHI Centre), which is supported by an openly available database and uses specific indicators to build an early warning system for droughts. The latter is very related to Adina‘s previous work on indicators controlling river channel erosion during flash floods (conference paper), as well as on the identification of critical points in steep rivers using numerical modelling (conference paper) for a better and faster flood modelling. She went home very pleased and excited!

Finally, the Congress Gala (upper-left and lower-center photographs) and Closing Ceremony ended the 39th IAHR World Congress. The Congress Gala was held at the Parque de las Ciencias, where they carry out scientific dissemination, and a delightful flamenco show entertained the attendees (upper-left photograph). So what’s next? The Young Professionals Assembly held earlier in the week brought up forthcoming activities for early careers (upper-right photograph), and several YPNs will arrange these activities to help their members learn and network. Some of the IAHR Scandinavia Young Professionals Network board attended these events (lower-center, from left to right: Slaven Conevski, co-founder and secretary for IAHR Scandinavia YPN, and Adina Moraru, co-founder and president for IAHR Scandinavia YPN) and will take part in future initiatives. Although this congress is held biennially, as the 39th IAHR World Congress was delayed 1 year due to the pandemic, the 40th IAHR World Congress will take place in August 2023 in Vienna, Austria, right in schedule.

From left to right: Slaven Conevski (Secretary for IAHR Scandinavia YPN), Adina Moraru (president for IAHR Scandinavia YPN), Théo Dezert (posdoc at NTNU) & Geir Helge Kiplesund (PhD candidate at NTNU)
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NTNU Digital Transformation seminar 2022

Every year since NTNU’s Digital Transformation initiative started in 2018, WoWW (as one of the 9 projects funded by this initiative) is invited to present its latest results. WoWW’s presentation followed directly after the event was introduced by director for NTNU Digital, John Krogstie (see image below). With some of the WoWW members spread across the country due to exchanges, our presentation was partly in Trondheim and partly remote.

John Krogstie, director for NTNU Digital, introduces the seminar (©Adina Moraru)

Oddbjørn Bruland, project leader for World of Wild Waters and team leader for work package 2 (see image below) creating hydrologic and hydraulic models of flash floods , introduced the project presentation with an impacting question for the audience: “Is it safe where you live?” followed by an animation of a 2D hydraulic simulation of the flash flood that severely damaged his hometown in 2017 (the case was widely covered by different news outlets, and the flood’s hydrology and hydraulics are analyzed in two of WoWW’s journal publications: Bruland (2020) and Moraru et al. (2021)). The follow-up question to this animation was “Does this scare you enough to act?“. If your answer is “no“, you need to continue reading… and watch the whole presentation in WoWW’s YouTube channel (linked below).

Oddbjørn Bruland, project leader for WoWW, presents the motivation for WoWW’s research (©Adina Moraru)
Full recording of the presentation (©Adina Moraru)

Gebray Habtu Alene, PhD candidate in work package 3 in charge of studying flow landslides of sensitive clays, such as the devastating episode in Gjerdrum (Norway) on the 30 December 2020 presented the integrated workflow from his numerical modelling of the quick clay landslide beforementioned (see image below) to its preparation for gamification in work package 4. This is not as straightforward as one might expect, and the team identified a significant obstacle to overcome during this workflow. I personally found it fascinating how quickly the Virtual Reality clip that Gebray shared triggered a response in the audience! Check out the video recording of the presentation above to see what I mean.

Gebray Habtu Alene, PhD candidate in work package 3, showcases the difference between scientific visualization of results and their gamification in Virtual Reality (©Adina Moraru)

Lastly, Andrew Perkis, team leader for work package 4 (see image below) responsible for creating an immersive and interactive experience of natural hazards concluded the project presentation by addressing the gap that WoWW has had to bridge throughout the project duration. Although research projects oftentimes encounter obstacles along the way, the gap between work packages in WoWW had little to do with research and external consultants were needed to fill the role of “the black box” that converges from numerical simulation results to graphically visualized outputs.

Andrew Perkis, team leader for work package 4, highlights the main challenges of WoWW and the Digital Transformation initiative (©Adina Moraru)

Flood

Editor’s choice awarded to flash flood journal article

Flash news! Adina Moraru and Michal Pavlíček’s (work package 2) recently published journal article has been awarded the category of “Editor’s Choice“! (see snapshot below) What article, do you mean? We wrote a post about it as soon as the manuscript came out with some of its highlights (see a sneak peek in the figure below), if you’re curious. This is an honor and great news for World of Wild Waters. Now, how does this work?

The manuscript is public and open to access here. No need to be subscribed anywhere.

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of journals from around the world, in this case Water (Switzerland). Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to authors, or important in this field. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.”, writes on the publishing journal’s website.

In short, this means that:

  1. The article get’s a blue-colored label (see snapshot above) that helps identify Adina and Michal’s manuscript as high quality.
  2. Also, Water (Swizterland) has a section where all the Editor’s Choice articles are collected for the readers, and this increases the likelihood that the manuscript is visited and read by the journal readers.
  3. Last, but not least, it’s a badge of honor to receive the validation and “stamp of approval” of scientific editors, especially so early in our careers (this is Adina‘s first ever published journal manuscript).
The journal article tells the story of Storelva in Utvik (western Norway), how it flooded in 2017 and the information we got in the field and via remote sensing to understand afterwards what happened. This is the location figure in the article available here.
Flood

Flash flood depicted in new journal article

The flash flood affecting Utvik in Stryn municipality (western Norway) in summer 2017 was documented on-site and has been studied ever since it occurred. This flash flood devastated Utvik (the hometown of WoWW’s project leader, Oddbjørn Bruland) and was the trigger to initiate the World of Wild Waters project. The extreme hydrologic event was analyzed in a journal article published last year in the international journal Hydrology Research. This article served as basis for a further analysis of the hydraulics during the flash flood, which was carried out in a recent study by Adina and Michal (work package 2). The hydraulic study, titled “The Story of a Steep River: Causes and Effects of the Flash Flood on 24 July 2017 in Western Norway“, is now published in the international journal Water (Switzerland), which is open access.

The hydraulic study assesses the potential causes of the flash flood based on visual documentation (for instance, in the first figure below) and post-event fieldwork (for example, the second figure below). The field observations, combined with soft data (testimonies from eyewitnesses), helped to understand the potential effects of future flash floods in similar mountain rivers. Additionally, the journal article is supplemented by a dataset (publicly available in Zenodo) that can be used in future studies, where the flash flood could be modelled numerically.

Visual documentation of the flash flood in July 2017. Figure from Moraru et al. (2021)

WoWW aims to have a digital twin of the flash flood devastating Utvik. Thus a numerical model of this flash flood might be used for future studies on gamification of natural hazards (work package 4) and risk perception using virtual reality (work package 5). Moreover, the river is continuously monitored with surveillance cameras and instruments that provide the level of the water in real-time. This allows an automatized data collection for future events in Storelva river and also an instantaneous reference of the current condition of the river.

Field visit with master students to Storelva river in Utvik after the flood (autumn 2019) to analyze post-flood restoration measures (© Adina Moraru).
conference

WoWW presented at UN World Water Day 2020

Every nation member of the United Nations (UN) celebrates the World Water Day (designated in 1992 by the UN) to increase global awareness on the importance of water and WoWW was invited to present during the World Water Day held in Oslo, Norway (postponed from March to November 2020 due to the pandemic).

The main topic for the World Water Day in 2020 is Water and Climate Change and the connection between these two (for instance, floods, droughts, storms, water quality and even the spread of water-borne diseases and its effect in tourism). This comes hand in hand with WoWW’s focus on water-derived natural hazards, such as flash floods and quick clay landslides.

The event was organized by UNESCO, The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate, The Norwegian Water Association, The Norwegian Hydrological Council, The Norwegian Society of Graduate Technical and Scientific Professionals (Tekna) and The Norwegian Institute for Water Research. The World Water Day included sessions on Global Perspectives: the relationship between water and climate change, Water and Climate Change: what are the students working with?, Water and Climate change: what is happening in Norway?, as well as the Junior Water Price ceremony award.

Adina presented “Serious gaming in the World of Wild Waters project and 3D visualization of floods” during the second session. WoWW’s motivation, project structure and potential applications were shown and exemplified with excerpts of the research carried out to date by all the WoWW modules. Moreover, the project’s current challenges were exposed and public participation and collaboration was encouraged. The presentation was recorded by the organizing committee and it’s available down below.

Adina presenting WoWW for the UN World Water Day 2020 (© The Norwegian Water Association YouTube)

As every year in such occasion, the United Nations has released the “World Water Development Report 2020 – Water and Climate Change” (document available here and live presentation available here). Additionally, the topic selected for World Water Day in 2021 is #Water2Me.

conference

1st IAHR Young Professionals congress

The International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR) has hosted their first Young Professionals congress this week. The congress aims to encourage networking and mentorship for young researchers in fields such as Fluvial Hydraulics, Hydroinformatics, Flood Risk Management or Sediment Transport, Experimental Methods and Instrumentations, among others. The event was held virtually (streamed live in YouTube) and gathered nearly 1,000 attendees.

Michal, Nitesh and Adina took part in the congress and the latter two presented their most recent findings in form of extended abstracts and posters in the Flood Risk Management session, chaired by Stefan Haun (Stuttgart University in Germany) and Benjamin Dewals (University of Liège in Belgium), and moderated by José M. Carrillo (Technical University of Cartagena in Spain). Both presentations were recorded by the congress organizing committee and are available down below.

Flood Risk Management session (© IAHR)

Adina presented an overview of her research, namely “Optimization and visualization of numerical models of flash floods in steep Norwegian rivers“, where she compared the computing effort of High-Performance Computing with the standard computing versions for a small 2D hydrodynamic model based on the 2017 flood in Utvik (western Norway).

Adina’s presentation (© IAHR YouTube)

Michal and Nitesh presented “Coupled hydrodynamic and hydrologic modelling using Telemac-2D” in a different study case in western Norway. The focus was on testing the effect of modelling short and long term Antecedent Moisture Conditions, mesh size and steep slope correction. The congress proceedings will be available in the e-Library of IAHR.

Nitesh’s presentation (© IAHR YouTube)

ADPC in Utvik Flood

Reconnaissance fieldtrips during late Autumn

After a considerable long period without fieldtrips due to the SARS-CoV-2, and just before a new wave hit us all, WoWW sought for calibration and validation data for its hydraulic numerical models. Although the likelihood of flooding decreases considerably during the cold Norwegian Autumn, Oddbjørn, Michal and Adina visited two mountainous localities, namely Oppdal in Central Norway and Stryn in West Norway.

Vekveselva river (in Oppdal) has a step-pool morphology and a steep slope, which makes it very attractive from the hydraulic and geomorphological perspectives, as this makes the river and valley susceptible to both floods and landslides. The weather was cloudy and slightly windy and snow has started to accumulate in the last few weeks (see the first gallery of photos below). These factors, together with an unstable phone/GPS signal, made the task of using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (aka drone) challenging. In addition, most of the selected reach had ice accumulation. In order to gain expertise and overcome the aforementioned challenges, WoWW allied with the department of Geography at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

The Norwegian Meteorological Institute forecasted heavy rain for Storelva river in Utvik (in Stryn) during early November and Michal and Adina drove to the West of Norway spontaneously. Although the weather resulted drier than predicted and the river barely carried water, the snow from the mountains has not yet reached the river downstream by the fjord. The wind did not encourage to fly the drone, however, they did experiment with acoustic (i.e. ADCP) and salt dilution gauging methods (see the gallery of photos below).

Storelva river in Utvik was flooded during summer 2017 and now flood-protection measures have been implemented. The channel has been excavated and a dyke has been built to protect the adjacent houses, formerly affected by the flash flood. The new channel shape demands for a new data set for ongoing research on flood risk in Stryn. The Norwegian winter is coming and the field work season comes to an end. Further attempts to obtain field data in Central and West Norway will be conducted during spring, once the snow has melted. A manuscript analyzing the hydrology of the 2017 flood was published in Hydrology Research this spring, and the efforts are now focused on understanding the hydrodynamics and the morphodynamics of the flood.

World of Wild Waters

WoWW – new technology for better flood preparedness

Oddbjørn Bruland, project leader for WoWW, has published a new article in the divulgation magazine Komunalteknikk (nr. 2-20, front cover and pages 36-39, in Norwegian). The article emphasizes the potential of serious games not only as communication and teaching tools, but also as an important mean to improve flood awareness and management.

After the flood affecting his hometown, Utvik, in 2017 (study case published recently in the journal Hydrology Research and available here), Oddbjørn was witness of the material and structural damage that flash floods can cause if we are not ready to protect our rivers. Bearing this in mind, the initiative for a new project that would provide a better insight into how to identify critical locations in rivers, SAFE RIVERS, was soon set into action.

Illustration of the Safe Rivers project and its connection to WoWW (© O. Bruland)

SAFE RIVERS intends to provide a deeper insight into where floods could start and where we should focus our efforts when protecting the communities in case a flood event would happen. This is information is key to WoWW and also to partners of the project, such as the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) and Telenor (communication company). Several municipalities are involved in the project and will be used as test cases for SAFE RIVERS and, most likely, also for WoWW.