Each year, countries around the world are hit by floods of catastrophic proportions. At TU Wien, research into these natural catastrophes is now being intensified thanks to EU funding. Günter Blöschl, Professor at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management at TU Wien, has been awarded the "Advanced Grant" by the ERC (European Research Council). The ERC Advanced Grant is one of the most lucrative research awards in the European research sector.
Increasing flood damage
Professor Blöschl and his team will use the European Research Council's grant to investigate the causes for huge floods in recent years. Many countries around the world have seen a huge increase in flood damage. Thailand recently suffered record flooding, as did Australia at the start of the year, and many of us still remember the horrors of the floods experienced in Austria in 2002 and 2005. The impact is clear. However, identifying the causes is extremely difficult. Trends, as well as coincidences, in precipitation have an impact, as do changes in land use, river regulations and other water supply infrastructures. These influencing factors have a complex interaction with hydrological processes in catchment areas, particularly with soil humidity and snowmelt. To identify the causes of flood variations, Professor Blöschl is using an innovative systematisation concept that has been developed at TU Wien. It involves comparing various flood situations and exploring the similarities in the course of floods. Models specifically aligned to these similarities enable flood variations and their process mechanisms to be illustrated mathematically. This makes it possible to disentangle the influences of land use, atmospheric conditions and water management.
Award for scientific excellence
The ERC Advanced Grant serves to promote basic pioneering research. It is awarded to researchers who have previously excelled as world-leading authorities in their discipline and managed to submit convincing new ideas for projects. The ERC grant amounts to 2.5 million euros and is thus one of the most generously endowed research awards in Europe. With Professor Blöschl's award, this is the fourth time that TU Wien has won the ERC Advanced Grant since it was first awarded in 2008, previous winners being Professor Bühler-Paschen (quantum physics), Professor Gottlob (web data extraction) and Professor Selberherr (microelectronics).
Professor Günter Blöschl – a scientist with international connections
Günter Blöschl has been a professor in Hydrology and Water Management at TU Wien since 2007. He studied civil engineering at TU Wien, obtaining his doctorate in 1990 and his post-doctoral lecturing qualification in 1997, also in hydrology at TU Wien. Extended placements in Australia and Canada. Günter Blöschl has more than 250 publications to his name, most of which are in international literature. With more than 3000 citations, he is the most cited hydrologist in the German-speaking area. He is an associate editor of ten international journals, a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, President for Water Management Systems at the International Association of Hydrological Sciences, a member of the German Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech) and of the scientific advisory board of a number of institutions, such as the German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam and the Federal Institute of Hydrology in Koblenz. Since 2009, he has been head of the Doctoral School of Water Management Systems, funded by the Austrian Science Fund, where, over the last 12 years, he has supervised more than 70 doctoral students at TU Wien.
Univ.Prof. Günter Blöschl
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