HighNoon contribution

The HighNoon project will target a significant progress in the state of art by combining innovative efforts in the field of (i) improving the regional simulation of climate change conditions including the consideration of feedback mechanisms from glacier retreat and evapotranspiration on the climate (ii) providing new methods for the prioritization of measures, and (iii) finally using this knowledge in a true participative development of specific multi-sector adaptation measures

Regional climate modelling and forecasting of snowmelt and monsoon patterns
To properly study the impacts on future climate change on the vulnerability of water resources in India it is important to improve the capacity of the simulate the South Asian monsoon and glacial melting and retreat. In addition it is important to incorporate different feedbacks into the models. Within the HighNoon project, model improvement will focussing on improving the simulation of the feedbacks of glacial retreat and the atmosphere. In addition we will study how the impacts of a changing snow cover and changing monsoon patterns interact affecting the total precipitation pattern of the Indian subcontinent. To do this we will improve and use two prominent regional climate models (Precis and Remo) at a high resolution. By using two different RCM’s we will be better able to determine model uncertainties.

To improve our understanding of the impacts of global warming on snowmelt and Glacier retreat and its impacts on future run-off we will develop and compare three different simulation methods. Firstly, we will use, a simple-temperature index-based model was developed by Rees & Collins (2006) in the UK DfID SAGAMATHA programme on snow and glacier aspects of water resources management in the Himalayas. Secondly a snow and ice routine will be developed for the SWAP model and thirdly. intrinsic glacier scheme of the MPI REMO model will be used to forecast runoff changes in glacierised catchments from a generalised ‘icesheet’ to develop an independent estimate of climate change effects on snow cover, glacier area, volume and runoff conditions.  By comparing three independent estimates of the impact of glacial and snowmelt on run-off it is possible to estimate uncertainties and improve the impact analyses.

In order to investigate the potential feedback mechanisms of the adaptation measures to global change, it is necessary to evaluate those measures in an integrative framework taking into account climate change as well as socio-economic changes. With IMAGE (Bouwman et al., 2006) it will be possible to simulate the impacts of adaptation measures on upstream-downstream impact relations in food production and water stress for other sectors. The innovation here will be twofold, first to assure the consistency amongst scales in translating the adaptation measures to regional scale, making use of the knowledge and experience at the field scale. Second, to test the robustness of the chosen strategy in a fully integrated framework.

Changes occur in a complex situation, where numerous stakeholders may have different opinions on both problems and solutions. While using water as a unifying area, an innovative way for inventorying and assessing adaptation measures will be worked out. Such an approach will not only bring together stakeholders, but also different sectors and scales, and create a common understanding and scope for future action.

Prioritization of water resources allocation and adaptation measures
Until now, the concept of equity and search for trade offs or compromises had largely influenced the water resources management. Facing the severity of climate change impact, droughts and floods in the North West of India, new methods have to be found to make a judgement of prioritizations by policy makers transparent and understandable to people.
The Indian context, with its uncertainty with regard to changing runoff and monsoon patterns provides an interesting opportunity to go beyond the state of the art in prioritization methods with the WaterWise application. The methodology will be improved with an new approach to uncertainty in boundary conditions (using a kind of embedded ensemble modelling). This will make it possible to analyze different adaptation measures and preferences not only given one standard rainfall and runoff pattern but under a range of climate patterns and to find the most suitable option also in terms of robustness and vulnerability. It will thereby link to the newest trends in ever more regionalized climatic models as developed in WP1 and 2.

A second innovation will be to use of these priorization methods at multiple scales. In WP4 it is envisaged to use the WaterWise method on two levels of scale, both the catchment as well as the regional subcatchment level and to investigate how the various actors operating at these levels influence each other. Choices and preferences at the higher level will influence the boundary conditions at the lower level. At the same time preferences for certain adaptation measures at the lower level might have a large effect when applied on a large scale at the catchment level. To support the application at different scales the link to socio-economic models of WP3  (IMAGE) will be both a necessity and a novelty.
The third innovation lies in the combination with Integrated Multi Criteria Analysis and the Analytical Hierarchy Process method itself in WP4. In the HighNoon project the WaterWise method will not be used stand alone, but will be embedded in the ICM further developed in this WP. This will result in a truly stakeholder driven and integrated prioritization method. This new combination will be used and tested in WP6.

Use of MODIS data to estimate evaporation rates using the SSEBI-2 algorithm (Jacobs et al., 2007, Roerink et al., 2000). These data (approximately 10% uncertainty) will enable the calibration and validation of distributed hydrological models (Immerseel and Droogers, 2008), which is of great value for catchments with limited discharge data available, such as is the case for the Ganga. A second benefit of these data is the option to assess the actual water use by irrigation, which includes the non-registered use.

Participative development of adaptation measures
The HighNoon project acknowledges that oftentimes the prioritization of adaptation measures will be influenced by power differences, conflict and politics. The stakeholder identification and analysis to be carried out in WP 6 (and which will finally become part of WP4) will explicitly address the issue of power differences. Moreover, in WP 6 a negotiation perspective will be applied. Future oriented methods will be used to assist the negotiation process by widening stakeholders’ views on options and their consequences.

The HighNoon project will not focus on the local level only. The HighNoon project acknowledges that the development of effective and applicable adaptation measures at the farm or field level is highly shaped by stakeholder processes and factors at the higher levels. Therefore, the design of WP 6 stresses the incorporation of stakeholders operating at various decision making levels. Moreover, WP6 will address the wider socio-, economic and physical context and the way they influence the choice for effective and applicable adaptation measures.

The HighNoon project aims to combine expert judgment and stakeholder involvement into the decision making about adaptation measures. In WP 6, the project will integrate scientific knowledge and tacit knowledge in the participatory impact analysis using different (scientific) models. The integration of scientific and tacit knowledge will form a sound basis for the development of innovative improvements (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995).