Severe Drought in Finland: Modeling Effects on Water Resources and Assessing Climate Change Impacts

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Research units

  • Finnish Environment Institute

Abstract

Severe droughts cause substantial damage to different socio-economic sectors, and even Finland, which has abundant water resources, is not immune to their impacts. To assess the implications of a severe drought in Finland, we carried out a national scale drought impact analysis. Firstly, we simulated water levels and discharges during the severe drought of 1939–1942 (the reference drought) in present-day Finland with a hydrological model. Secondly, we estimated how climate change would alter droughts. Thirdly, we assessed the impact of drought on key water use sectors, with a focus on hydropower and water supply. The results indicate that the long-lasting reference drought caused the discharges to decrease at most by 80% compared to the average annual minimum discharges. The water levels generally fell to the lowest levels in the largest lakes in Central and South-Eastern Finland. Climate change scenarios project on average a small decrease in the lowest water levels during droughts. Severe drought would have a significant impact on water-related sectors, reducing water supply and hydropower production. In this way drought is a risk multiplier for the water–energy–food security nexus. We suggest that the resilience to droughts could be improved with region-specific drought management plans and by including droughts in existing regional preparedness exercises.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number2450
Number of pages26
JournalSustainability
Volume11
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Climate change, Drought, Finland, Groundwater, Hydrological modeling, Preparedness, Water security, Water-energy-food security nexus, ENERGY, water-energy-food security nexus, water security, groundwater, TRENDS, EUROPE, FLOODS, PRECIPITATION, hydrological modeling, preparedness, drought, SIMULATIONS, PROJECTIONS, climate change

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