The project I:CAN (Impacts: Climate, Anthroposphere and Nature) funded by the Research Council of Norway has the objectives to (i) improve the quantitative assessment of the components of the water cycle in Norway by explicitly including land use changes in the model procedures; (ii) demonstrate the effects of land use and climate changes on the hydrological cycle; and (iii) bridge the gaps between local, regional and global hydrological impact assessments. Detailed, high-resolution maps of forest structure and land use have been produced and have been coupled with a spatially distributed hydrological model for assessing the impacts of climate and land use change on water resources. The consistency in hydrological model results from present to future climate is ensured by using physically correct methods for describing the interface between the atmosphere and the land surface. The methods that were used resulted in improved model simulations. Historic time series of forest structure have been constructed in order to study individual and combined effects of land cover change, in particular forest change, and climate on land surface water fluxes. Hydrological model studies show that land use and forest management strategies influence snow cover dynamics, surface albedo, land surface water and energy fluxes, however, changes in climate had a larger impact than land use changes on streamflow for the second half of the last century. Analyzing simulations with an energy-balance snow model reveal that the sensitivity to changes in grid resolution depend both on the spatial variability of climate within a region as well as on the parameterization procedure used for processes within the snow pack and at the snow-atmosphere interface.
Kompetanse i modellering av vekselvirkning mellom vegetasjon, hydrologiske prosesser inklusive snø, arealbruksendringer og klimaendringer er forbedret. Modellverktøy for kvantifisering av komponenter i det hydrologiske kretsløp i Norge er forbedret. Forholdet mellom virkning av arealbruks- og klimaendringer på avrenning i Norge i historisk periode er kvantifisert. Klimaendringers virkning på skogstruktur og hydrologiske prosesser i framtiden og sammenhengen mellom studier i lokal og regional skala er undersøkt. Tverrfaglig samarbeid mellom Norsk institutt for bioøkonomi og Norges vassdrags- og energidirektorat er etablert og har resultert i to nye prosjekter med finansiering fra Norges forskningsråd. Resultatene og metodene som er utviklet i I:CAN vil benyttes ved framtidige analyser av klimaendringers virkning på naturmiljø og vannressurser i Norge. Sluttbrukere i skog- og vannkraftsektor kan benytte resultatene av prosjektet til planlegging.
Climate, land cover, and direct anthropogenic activities affect the magnitude of natural hazards like floods, droughts and forest fires. I:CAN will investigate the interactions between vegetation, surface water fluxes and climate in a holistic way, and will seek to quantify the separate and combined effects of climate and land use changes on natural hazards. Comprehensive data analyses and model simulations will be performed using historic observations and the most recent climate projections (1960-2100). The project will mainly focus on Norway at 1 km spatial scale; i.e. a scale suitable for local impact assessments. However, the project will also contribute to community driven global scale impact projects. Subsequently, local climate impact results will be compared and linked to those obtained at larger scales. Hence, I:CAN will contribute to increased knowledge and reduced uncertainty by ensuring that a wide range of projections applicable for local impact assessments can be used to identify and prioritize robust options to meet adaptation challenges.