Kirsti Hakala

Kirsti Hakala

PhD student

PhD research: Hydrological climate change impact assessment - addressing the uncertainties

Some of the most significant effects of climate change are expected to impact hydrological processes, such as snowmelt and timing of discharge. Therefore, it is of growing importance to create accurate projections of streamflow whilst understanding and reducing biases in climate model projections. Streamflow is controlled by a wide range of hydrometeorological processes. When streamflow is simulated, the realism of the simulations reflects how well those processes are represented in models. Therefore, within our first project, we use hydrological modeling to evaluate the atmospheric forcing provided by GCM-RCM combinations (climate models).

Our second project is a more collaborative effort, which entails the creation of an encyclopedia chapter 'Hydrological climate change impact modeling: from basics to applications'. Within this chapter, we provide background knowledge on the subject, descriptions of best practices, we outline common mistakes and provide scripts for those who wish to carry out such research. This chapter also provides information for faculty to custom-design their own course packs for interdisciplinary water-related courses.

In our third project, we collaborated with a hydropower company who selected streamflow and energy demand indices. Using these indices, we identified stakeholder needs and used this to tailor the production of our climate change impact projections. We show that opportunities and risks for a hydropower company depend on a range of factors beyond those covered by traditional studies.

Besides my main research projects described above, I have also been involved in studies related the use of multivariate bias correction for glaciated Swiss catchments and the impact of potential evapotranspiration estimation on streamflow in Tunisia.