– analysis of climate change and river run-off variation;
– research of impact of enery and transport objects on water bodies;
– collection and analysis of data of the Lithuanian water bodies (rivers, ponds, the Curonian Lagoon, and the Baltic Sea).
Objects and tasks of research
The most significant research objects of the Laboratory are Lithuanian rivers and lakes, the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic Sea. The condition of these water bodies is determined by extreme natural phenomena, such as global warming, storms, floods and economic activities (energy production, navigation, ponds). Therefore, the assessment of the state of water bodies is one of the most important tasks of research.
Applying the information collected in the hydrographic and hydro meteorological database and the modern digital modeling systems, the Laboratory solves the following tasks:
– impact of climate change on water bodies;
– analysis of change of extreme hydrological phenomena of water bodies;
– digital modeling of waves, hydrological and hydrodynamic processes and sediment transport in water bodies;
- environmental impact assessment of anthropogenic activities on water bodies and justification of environmental protection measures;
- environmental assessment of new sea ports and the ports under reconstruction;
– exploitation of sea harbors and waterways, ensuring the nautical depth;
– modeling of pollution dispersion in water bodies;
– sensitivity and uncertainty analysis of hydrological and hydrodynamic processes.
The Laboratory of Hydrology carries out fundamental and applied research in the field of environmental engineering. The basis of the research is numerous hydrographic, hydrologic, morphometric and meteorological data, collected by the Laboratory of Hydrology for many years, and innovative digital modeling software (system MIKE 21, developed by Danish Hydraulic Institute, for the modeling of wave, hydrodynamic and sediment movement processes, and pollution dispersion; hydrological process model HBV, developed by Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, as well as geographical information systems GIS). This enables solving the most important environmental issues by assessing the impact of anthropogenic activities and climate change on environment and justifying environmental protection measures.
In the recent decade, the Laboratory has been implementing research related to the assessment of the impact of climate change on water resources. In the period 2013–2015, a state funded research project Research of Extreme Hydrological Phenomena of Lithuanian Rivers (advisor Dr. J. Kriaučiūnienė) has been under implementation. Research of extreme hydrological phenomena (floods and droughts) is relevant in designing and operating the most important infrastructures, such as polders, bridges and culverts, as well as for general flood risk management and planning in order to avoid human casualties and material loss. The preparation of such measures for Lithuanian rivers is based on the observations of river run-off, their analysis and digital simulation. Overview of the research on extreme hydrological phenomena and modern flood forecasting methods in different countries was carried out; original methodology of spring and flash floods assessment during perennial period was developed as well as methodology of extreme hydrological phenomena forecasting (climate change models and hydrological simulation), the analysis of conditions for formation of extreme hydrological phenomena of Lithuanian rivers was performed, change of extreme parameters of river runoff over time was assessed along with forecast of these phenomena following the latest climate change scenarios in the 21st century.
Hydrographs of the Neris based on four climate scenarios in periods 2011–2040 (a) and 2071–2100 (b)
In 2014 together with other divisions of the Institute, long-term institutional research and experimental development (further R&D) program Analysis of usage of renewable resources for efficient energy production and environmental impact were continued. Objectives of the Laboratory research in 2014: 1) to create wave dissemination model for the Baltic near-shore, which would make it possible to assess the potential of wave energy in the territorial waters of Lithuania, 2) to investigate the possibilities of technical hydrokinetic resources, to identify accessible river sections and their distribution across the territory of Lithuania. In 2014 wave dispersion model for the Baltic near-shore belonging to Lithuania was created using the world’s widely recognized digital modeling system MIKE 21, developed by the Danish Hydraulic Institute. The wave model NSW (Near-shore Spectral Wind-Wave Module) of this system was applied to simulate parameters of the wind induced wave scattering for the Baltic near-shore. Modeled wave parameters will allow an accurate assessment of wave energy potential in the territorial waters of Lithuania. Using accumulated in 2012 and 2013 hydrographic, morphological and hydrological data base of Lithuanian rivers and created hydro morphological dependencies of rivers (dependence of river width, river depth and flow speed on the average perennial flow), River sections, in which flowing at less than 95% probability of flow the following conditions are met, were selected: 1) maximum speed in the flow is above 0.4 m/s, 2) river depth is above 0.5 m. It was obtained that these conditions are met by only 328 river sections (22.1%) out of all 1487 analyzed river sections.
Project COST ES0901
Together with scientists from 23 European countries, the researchers of the Laboratory participate in the COST ES0901 project European Procedures for Flood Frequency Estimation (2009–2014). They perform activities in two work groups, namely Evaluation of statistical methods for flood frequency estimation and Impact of environmental change on flood frequency estimates.
Territorial distribution of trends of spring (a) and flash (b) floods in different time periods
On March 6–7, 2014 LEI researchers Jūratė Kriaučiūnienė and Diana Šarauskienė took part in the final conference of COST activities, where they presented a paper Variability of spring and flash floods of the Lithuanian rivers in the past and future. On August 3, 2014 researchers of the Institute participated in the COST activity ES0901 FloodFreq Steering Committee meeting. The results of research performed during the project, their dissemination, and possibilities to meet in the future to work in similar activities were discussed.
Latvia-Lithuania cross border cooperation network HOTRISK
On November 4, 2013 a new mutual Latvia-Lithuania cross border cooperation project Towards a Harmonized Water Quality and Pollution Risk Management
HOTRISK was initiated. The project duration is 04 11 2013 – 31 12 2014. The project partners are Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre and Laboratory of Hydrology of Lithuanian Energy Institute. The objective of the project is to achieve high quality of the surface water in the Lithuanian-Latvian frontier river basins by applying mixed zone evaluation method. This method could be applied for preparation of the corrected management plans for river basin of Venta district (RBD).
There are a number of laws related to the European Water Framework and Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) directives intended to protect or improve the quality of water bodies. However, there are no national legal documents that would define how to harmonize water policies and activities designed to achieve good water quality in the border region according to EQS Directive. Also there are no concerted methodologies for water status assessment. In order to improve the quality of surface water, Environmental Quality Standards Directive (2008/105/EC) proposes to apply a method of determining mixed zones. Mixed zone is a section of the river near the pollution discharge location, where concentrations of hazardous pollutants may exceed the appropriate environmental quality standard.
During the expedition, water samples were taken for chemical analysis, and measurements of flow in the rivers of Venta basin were carried out (photographs by D. Šarauskienė and D. Jakimavičius)
Since such hot spots as sewage pollution sources mostly affect the region water quality of Venta river basin at the Latvian-Lithuanian border, the project activities were carried out in the Venta rivers, located on the territory of Latvia and Lithuania. In Latvia the research of river water quality was mostly focused on southwest of Kurzeme region, including Rucavas, Priekulė, Vaiņode, Saldus, Aucė districts and on Liepaja and Aizputė. While in Lithuania, in the entire Mažeikiai region and in many places in Akmenė, Skuodas, Telšiai, Šiauliai and Kelmė districts.
In 2014 analysis of key pollutants of Venta rivers RBD was performed. Also the need to determine mixed zones was assessed in order to ensure water quality in rivers of Latvian-Lithuanian border region by cooperating with environmental institutions, local authority institutions and businessmen.
Moments of seminar participants meeting in Kaunas
On December 4, 2014 Lithuanian Energy Institute hosted HOTRISK project seminar Mixing zones and water quality. During the seminar, representatives of the Institute together with the researchers of Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre presented results of the project. During the seminar, the project steering committee and seminar participants (representatives of Lithuanian Energy Institute, Šiauliai and Kaunas regional Environment Protection Departments, KTU APINI, Natural Heritage Foundation, Aleksandras Stulginskis University, Vytautas Magnus University and Kaunas University of Technology, Latvian Geology and Meteorology Center, Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania, Municipality of Riga, regional institutions of State Environmental service agencies) agreed that the results of the project can be used to update management plans for districts of Latvian and Lithuanian river basins.
In 2008, LEI Laboratory of Hydrology was accepted into EurAqua organization, which consists of the most influential scientific institutions of 24 European countries performing research of water resources. The main objectives of EurAqua are the following:
1. To participate in the formation of water research policy in the European Union;
2. To formulate and propose the most significant and topical themes on water resources research, which could be included into FP projects;
3. To form consortiums with EurAqua scientific institutions by preparing joint proposals for FP projects;
4. To prepare scientific articles and technical reviews on problematic areas in European water resources research;
5. To organize conferences on relevant topics (the impact of climate change on water resources, flood analysis and forecast in Europe, etc.)
The XLIII meeting of EurAqua members took place on October 28–29, 2014 in Brussels (IRSA). The participants of EurAqua discussed the most relevant issues of European water policy: climate scenarios in the future, Implementation of common water directive at the background of climate change, analysis of uncertainties for prediction of changes of water resources. Also topical issues of HORIZON 2020 projects and possible groups of researchers from EURAQUA institutions were discussed.
Cooperation with scientific institutions
The Laboratory of Hydrology closely cooperates with the Institute of Environmental Engineering of Kaunas University of Technology and have been publishing a scientific journal Environmental Research, Engineering and Management since 1995. The researchers carry out complex environmental investigations together with the institutes of Ecology, Geology and Geography, and Botany of Nature Research Centre. Aiming at the development of up-to-date infrastructure for the common needs of Lithuanian sea sector scientific research and technological development, the Laboratory of Hydrology contributes to the activity of the association Baltijos slėnis (the Baltic Valley).
The primary and main objective of the Integrated Science, Studies and Business Centre (Valley), concerning Lithuanian sea sector development, is to unite institutions and departments of maritime science. The initiators for establishing the Valley are Klaipėda University, Nature Research Centre, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Lithuanian Energy Institute and maritime business companies. Two directions of scientific research and experimental development are planned, that is, sea environment and maritime technologies. In pursuance of integrating the diffuse national scientific potential, working in the field of maritime science, and effectively using modern scientific research equipment and a ship, it is planned to establish a National Maritime Science and Technology Centre. The partners of the Baltic Valley (Klaipėda University, Nature Research Centre, Lithuanian Energy Institute, PE Space Science and Technology Institute in Lithuania, State scientific research institute Center for Physical Sciences and Technology) cooperating their experience, professional knowledge, capacities and business reputation, human, labor and technical resources, participate in implementing 2007–2013 Human Resources development operational program of priority 3: Strengthening the capacities of researchers means VP1-3.1-ŠMM-08-K of the project Development of Lithuanian marine sector technologies and environmental research Researchers of the Laboratory together with KU researchers actively participate in the activity of subtopic Simulation of Hydrodynamic and Litodynamic Processes in the Baltic Sea Nearshore. means VP1-3.1-ŠMM-08-K of the project Researchers of the Laboratory together with KU researchers actively participate in the activity of subtopic .
Major applied works of the Laboratory
The Laboratory carries out applied research work on environment and prepares hydro technical construction projects according to agreements with enterprises and organizations:
– Under the agreement with JSCSweco Lietuva, the study Assessment of Hydrodynamic Conditions and Sediment Balance Changes was prepared, the results of which were used in preparation of The Expansion Plan of Maximum Deepening and Widening Possibilities for Klaipėda State Sea Navigation Channel.
– Under the agreement with JSC Sweco Hydroproject, the study Mathematical Model of the Kiaulės Nugara Island Slope Erosion and Sediment Processes was prepared.
– Under the agreement with the Nature Research Center, the assessment of water level fluctuation at Kaunas hydro power plant reservoir was carried out.
– Under the agreement with JSC Ekotektonika, the study Hydrodynamic Modeling of the Danes River Flow for Construction of Boat Pier was prepared.
MIKE 21 modeling system, developed in Danish Hydraulic Institute, was applied for the development projects of Klaipėda Seaport in estimating their impact on the environment and navigation conditions. In order to improve navigation conditions in the Klaipėda Strait The Expansion Plan of Maximum Deepening and Widening Possibilities for Klaipėda State Seaport Navigation Channel was prepared in 2013–2014.
Researchers of LEI Laboratory of Hydrology estimated possible impact of deepening and widening of seaport navigation channel on the Klaipėda Strait flow and sediment balance, erosion as well as accumulation processes and bottom changes and foreseen measures to mitigate this impact. Investigating changes of hydrodynamic and sediment processes of the Klaipėda Strait due to Klaipeda seaport expansion, the following main alternatives were investigated:
1. Alternative 0 – the current situation, when the seaport navigation channel is deepened up to 14.5 m and widened up to 150 m.
2. Alternative A – the maximum expansion possibilities after implementing the impact mitigating environmental measures (the inflow channel depth – 17.5 m, the navigation channel depth – 17 m and width 200 m, the depth of water for ships rotation in pond spots – 17 m, the water area depth behind the Kiaulės Nugara Island – 14 m, the installation of breakwater in the northern part of the Curonian Lagoon).
3. Alternative B – partial expansion possibilities after implementing the impact mitigating environmental measures (deepening and widening up to maximum parameters in the chosen water area sectors as well as installation of breakwater in the northern part of the Curonian Lagoon: the inflow channel depth – 17.5 m, the navigation channel depth – 17 m, the installation of breakwater in the northern part of the Curonian Lagoon).
Structure of the Klaipėda strait flow according Alternative 0 (a) and Alternative B (b), when a discharge of 2730 m3/s flows from the Curonian Lagoon to the Baltic Sea
After implementing the solutions of Expansion plan KSS for maximum deepening and widening of the navigation channel according to Alternative A (maximum expansion possibilities after implementing environmental impact mitigating measures), permeability of the Klaipėda Strait will drastically increase (up to 10.4%). The installation of the proposed southern breakwater in the northern part of the Curonian Lagoon will not compensate the increase of permeability.
The solutions of Alternative B (partial expansion possibilities after implementing additional environmental impact mitigating measures) will insignificantly (up to 1.6%) increase permeability of the Klaipėda Strait. Therefore, at the first stage of the port expansion, it is proposed to implement the solutions of Alternative B. The configuration of the proposed southern breakwater should be analyzed more thoroughly, since in this Expansion plan only one breakwater version was chosen (700 m length breakwater, perpendicular to the shoreline). In the future such southern breakwater construction should be selected so that while implementing solutions according to Alternative B, the erosion processes would be avoided at a water area nearby southern breakwater and the Curonian Lagoon shore.
Flow distribution in the Danė river, flowing with discharge 164 m3/s
Opportunities for application of digital modeling system MIKE 21 in port development projects are broad. A study preformed in 2014 Hydrodynamic modeling of the Danes river flow for construction of boat pier. In Klaipeda city on a plot of land located in Danes (Akmena) valley, it is planned to construct a pier for small boats and restricted by hydro technical structures aquatory for storing boats. A characteristic feature of the territory provided for construction is a small altitude above the sea level and water level changes in the Danes river that determine frequent flooding and inundation of the area. By means of the model of hydrodynamic modeling system MIKE 21, the impact of future hydraulic structures in the river valley on the structure of the Danes river flow and design height of the structures have been established; possible erosion processes in the Danes valley have been predicted. The results of the analysis will be used for the environment impact assessment of the planned economic activity and for providing mitigation measures to avoid negative consequences.
In 2014 the Laboratory researchers together with researchers from foreign countries published five articles, four of which are referenced in Thomson-Reuters Web of Science Core Collection database, and four science promotion articles and presented nine scientific papers at three international scientific conferences.