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Physical Geography
PhD project

Can a future climate change threaten the current hydropower production in Norway?

In today’s economic and power consuming state, hydropower can be regarded as the most critical and beneficial renewable resource in Norway. The main goal of my project is to visualize past temporal snowlines on the west coast mountain regions in Norway during varying future climate scenarios and to study how this will affect the production of hydropower.

PhD Candidate Sunniva Solheim Vatle.

The emphasis will be on how the anthropogenic warming could have potential negative consequences for this essential renewable energy source.

Current forecasts predict a future with extreme weather events, higher air temperatures and an increase in precipitation; this will affect the production of hydropower.

There is a need for projections of future climates and this can be done by comparing the periods in the past with the current climate and thus illustrate various scenarios for the future.  

The main consequence of climate change will be the depletion of the snowmelt that is responsible for the continuous supply of water to the reservoirs throughout the summer.

The power industry will experience problems if production forecasts occur.

Majority of the precipitation in autumn/winter will deposit as rain- the likelihood that current water reservoirs have enough capacity to store this “future energy” is slim, the consequence being the necessary draining of the surplus.