HIWET - High-resolution modelling and monitoring of water and energy transfers in wetland ecosystems

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Context and objectives

Despite the protected status of many freshwater wetlands, many of these ecosystems are under threat of (further) degradation due to climate change and anthropogenic activities. As processes in wetland ecosystems are highly dynamic and complex and wetlands are often difficult to access, hampering their large-scale monitoring in the near real time, still major knowledge gaps exits.

The main research objectives are:

  1. Overcome limitations of water and energy balance modeling and reduce uncertainty by integration into a single multi-model approach;
  2. Obtain consistent ET estimates across scales (multi-scale);
  3. Enable consistent thermal/ET monitoring at high spatial and temporal resolution;
  4. Gain understanding on relation ET and vegetation/ecosystem functioning in temperate wetlands;
  5. Combine field and RS based approaches to provide wetland ecosystem health indicators.

Project outcome

Expected scientific results

The primary output will be a multi-model, multi-scale framework, integrating both hydrological water balance and land surface energy balance modelling. Satellite/airborne remote sensing is integrated into a data assimilation approach at multiple spatial scales, yielding a consistent ET timeseries across scales.

Validation of water and surface energy fluxes will be carried out against in-situ measurements at various freshwater wetland sites.

The project will deliver consistent surface flux estimates at multiple spatial scales (local – high resolution, regional – medium to low resolution) over different freshwater wetlands. An increased understanding of the complex interaction between soil, vegetation and atmosphere in freshwater wetland ecosystems will be achieved in order to develop a conservation and management strategy to tackle potential anthropogenic and climate threats.

Expected products and services

Remote-sensing based wetland monitoring tools:  wetland functioning indicators linked to ET dynamics.

Potential users: wetland managers, hydrological modelers and managers.

Project leader(s): VUB - Department of Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering (HYDR)
Belgian partner(s)
MEULENBERGHS Françoise IRM/KMI - Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium
MEIRE Patrick UA - Department of Biology
GHILAIN Nicolas IRM/KMI - Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium
International partner(s)
HOFFMANN Lucien Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology
Location: Continent:
  • Europe

  • Belgique
  • Luxembourg
  • Pologne

  • Representative freshwater wetland sites in temperate areas: (1) Biebrza National Park Wetland, Upper basin (Poland), (2) Hautes Fagnes wetland (Belgium), (3) Upper Alzette (Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg) and (4) Doode Bemde wetland (Leuven, Belgium)

Related presentations:
Website: http://www.hydr.vub.ac.be/projecthiwet/