University of Birmingham
Linking impacts of climate change on snow and water resources
- Joshua Larsen (University of Birmingham)
- Ross Woods (University of Bristol)
- Bettina Schaeffli (University of Bern, Switzerland)
Global warming has a strong impact on snow around the world by decreasing snowpack amounts and shifting the timing of snowmelt to earlier in spring. This has strong implications for water resources, such as groundwater recharge, hydropower production, reservoir management and water supply. However, the effect of changes in snowmelt rates and timing on streamflow generation is still poorly understood and is key for water resources management. In this PhD we will make use of global big data on snowfall and snowmelt together with streamflow and discharge data to feed and develop a snow dynamics model. This will help understanding these snow-hydrological processes and making future projections of water resources in snow-dominated regions of the world.
What inspires you
In general, I had curiosity for what was going on around me in the natural world since I was a kid, especially for meteorological events such as rain and snow. When as a teenager I started watching films and documentaries about climate change they really got my attention, so I started to develop a stronger interest in this world.
I did my undergraduate (BSc) in Environmental Sciences at the University of Barcelona. I then moved to The Netherlands to do my MSc in Earth and Environment at Wageningen University, where I specialized my multi-disciplinary background in the field of Hydrology and Water Resources. For my master thesis I published a paper showing widespread decreases in snow depth over Europe due to climate change doi.org/10.1029/2018GL079799. I also did an internship at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), where I studied the future hydroclimate of the Dutch Caribbean. Before starting my PhD, I worked for 5 months as a research assistant at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research in Zurich, modelling the melt of high-mountain glaciers.
Why did you choose doctoral research?
I enjoyed doing research during my master’s program, I had curiosity and passion for what I was studying, so I told to myself: “If I find a PhD topic that awakens my interest as much as my master thesis topic did, I will go for it.” In addition, I like the generally informal, flexible and social atmosphere in the research world, as well as the collaboration and networking with the international community.
Why did you choose CENTA?
Having a studentship to undertake a PhD at a University in the United Kingdom is something prestigious and a good opportunity. Moreover, the CENTA studentship includes interesting training opportunities, as well as a substantial grant to support your own research.
The international network of the University of Birmingham will help during the PhD as well as for my future career. The CENTA studentship will allow me to go to conferences and grow my network of contacts ad collaborations for my project, which will need a lot of data from third parties. I would like to follow with a post-doc after my PhD, possibly moving to a snowy place. But life can change a lot in 3.5 years, so who knows!