The International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR) has hosted its third Young Professionals congress from the 28th November to the 2nd December 2022. The congress aimed 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 and gathered over 1,300 attendees.
Adina took part in the congress and presented her most recent findings in the form of an extended abstract and poster in the Flood Risk Management session, chaired by Susanna Dazzi (University of Parma, Italy) and Ravindra Vitthal Kale (National Institute of Hydrology Roorkee, India), and moderated by David Ferras (IHE-Delft, the Netherlands) and Ingrid Silva (Sweco, Sweden). The presentation and following Q&A were recorded by the congress organizing committee and will available soon.
Adina presented her most recent research on “The role of soft data to understand flood dynamics in an ephemeral mountain river“, where she highlighed the hydro-morphological information provided by photographs, videos, media coverage and witness testimonies during the 2017 flash flood in Utvik (western Norway), complementary to remote sensing techniques. The dataset she provides can be used for model calibration, validation, as well as to improve flood early warning systems. Further research on this topic is available in the award-winning journal article Moraru et al. (2021).
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 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Researchers from water-related disciplines like Hydraulics, Morphodynamics, Ecology and Integral approaches presented their work digitally, and the contents were exceptionally available for the attendees to discuss upon until the 17th of July due to the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. Among the varied topics in fluid mechanics, river monitoring, extreme events and rivers under pressure, few studies focused on optimized numerical modelling techniques, as well as visualization and flood risk communication.
Alongside with the different thematic sessions arranged, young researchers were given the opportunity to present and discuss varied topics in masterclasses arranged by experienced researchers. For instance, Adina participated on the 6th of July in the masterclass “The Digital River”, organized by Enrica Viparelli (University of South Carolina) and Ioana Popescu (IHE Delft).
The conference program had other highlights, such as an e-social gathering and keynote lectures in “Future generations fighting climate change” (Gabriela Eslava Bejarano, Columbia University, USA), “Rivers Dynamics in Regions of Rapid Climate Change” (Irina Overeem, University of Colorado at Boulder, USA) and “When a tree falls in a river… a cascade process begins” (Virginia Ruiz-Villanueva, University of Lausanne, Switzerland).