Hydrological modelling as a tool: new paper in Progress in Physical Geography

By Sally Rangecroft 

The first of the CreativeDrought project papers has just been published in Progress in Physical Geography, an interdisciplinary journal looking at the latest developments within physical geography and interrelated fields/ geographical work in the natural and environmental sciences. The paper titled Hydrological modelling as a tool for interdisciplinary workshops on future droughtwas led by Sally and a core of the CreativeDrought team.

Within this paper, the overall methods of the CreativeDrought project are outlined, but the focus is on how we used the hydrological model, SHETRAN, for the future drought narrative workshops (which were conducting in our 2nd field season, July 2017). Set up using freely available data, local knowledge, and the narrative-based group interviews on past experiences of drought, the model acted as a locally-relevant tool for prompting discussions about potential future drought impacts, responses and preparedness. In the paper we discussed the elements involved in the modelling process: 1) the building of the model through our interdisciplinary approach; 2) setting up the model with limited data; and 3) the translation of the model results into storylines for the workshops.

Hydrological models can have many different purposes, but a vast majority of models are used for predictions and forecasts. Here we use the model for exploring what-if scenarios in the rural South African community ofFolovhodwe. Furthermore, the model is used to simulate information when measurements are limited, not available or not possible (e.g. regarding the future) in both space (e.g. river discharge & soil moisture levels in the village) and time (1979 – 2013, and the future). We showed how this alternative approach of using a hydrological model has benefits, and discussed the limitations and lessons of the approach for future interdisciplinary research.

The Progress in Physical Geography article can be downloaded directly from our site (academic publications) or accessed here: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0309133318766802

 


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