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Modelling future runoff and sediment transport in alpine torrents

Funding: Austrian Climate and Energy Funds (Program ACRP9, KR16AC0K13305)

Project period: May 2017 – August 2019

Motivation and aims

Latest News:
The flooding event of 4th/5th Aug 2017 mobilized extreme amounts of sediments and caused severe damage to buildings and infrastructure. Some of the installed instruments were destroyed. The hydrological/geomorphological analysis of the events is a new aim of the project.

  • Sediment-laden torrential floods are among the most important natural hazards in Austria
  • Ongoing climate change in the Austrian Alps will make it necessary to expand and reassess protection measures
  • Aim of RunSed-CC: To model the hydrological reaction of torrents on climate change and the ensuing sediment transport in a coherent model chain
  • Addressing uncertainties regarding precipitation, runoff, sediment availability and sediment transport 



University of Graz, geography / geomorphology
University of Graz, geography / hydroclimate
Graz University of Technology, Hydraulic Engineering

Project organisation

  • WP1: Numerical modelling of current and future runoff based on spatially highly resolved climate scenarios under moderate and high-end climate change scenarios based on ÖKS15 climate projections
  • WP2: Numerical modelling of current and future sediment transport based on runoff and sediment availability
  • WP3: Extensive field measurements of sediment availability, transport and deposition in the catchment providing necessary input data and validating the modelling results
  • WP4: Transfer of the results to other eastern Alpine torrential catchments by means of a GIS approach, particularly to the Johnsbach in Styria as a second full-instrumented site
  • WP5: Development of management strategies regarding future challenges for disaster prevention to tackle the effects of climate change 

Study area

  • Schöttlbach catchment (Wölzer Tauern, Styria, Austria)
  • 71 km², 810 – 2370 m
  • Gneiss and mica schist series; erosion-prone glacigenic sediments in the lower catchment
  • Catastrophic torrential flood event in August 2011


  • Meteorological station of the Austrian Weather Service
  • Meteorological station Schöttlkapelle
  • 2 additional precipitation gauges
  • 3 runoff gauges
  • Conductivity and turbidity sensors
  • 5 groups of sediment-impact-sensors for monitoring bedload
  • Slope erosion test plots
  • Monitoring of sedimentation in the retention basin at the outlet







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