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North-West Russia Surface Waters


North-West Russia Surface Waters under Climate and Man-Made Change

Tech Area / Field

  • OBS-NAT/Natural Resources and Earth Sciences/Other Basic Sciences
  • ENV-MIN/Monitoring and Instrumentation/Environment
  • ENV-WPC/Water Pollution and Control/Environment

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
State Educational Institution of Higher Vocational Education Baltic State Technical University «Voenmekh» named after D.F.Ustinov, Russia, St Petersburg

Supporting institutes

  • Scientific Foundation “Nansen International Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre”, Russia, St Petersburg\nRussian Academy of Sciences / Northern Water Problems Institute, Russia, Petrozavodsk\nInstitute for Economics and Mathematics at St.Petersburg, Russia, St Petersburg


  • Max-Planck-Institut fur Meteorologie, Germany, Hamburg\nMichigan Tech Research Institute, USA, MI, Ann Arbor\nPirkanmaa Regional Environment Centre, Finland, Tampere\nNansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center, Norway, Bergen

Project summary

Project aim: To ascertain the sustainability of the North-West Russia (NWR) water resources in the 21st century under the ongoing climate and man-made change

The state-of-the-art and progress impact

The project is dedicated to the assessment of North-West Russia (NWR) surface waters and prediction of their evolution in the 21st century due to man- made and global climate change, and formulation of measures for water preservation. Although NWR is one of the Russian regions rich in drinkable water, the irrational practice of water consumption can eventually result in worsening of drinking water quality. This holds not only for small but also the largest European lakes – Ladoga and Onega. The drainage area of these two lakes accommodates more than one half of the population of north-western Russia. The anthropogenic loading on these water bodies is enormous.

A solution of rational water use at a regional level can be found in attaining concordance of economic interests of the region development and preservation of natural resources. This implies involvement of fundamental scientific knowledge encompassing various areas ranging from economy of natural resources use to hydrodynamics, hydrobiology, ecology and informatics. Under conditions of market economy, the issues of exploiting economic means for rational water resources consumption become particularly important. In this light it is if paramount importance to identify such criteria of management decision making which will indeed reflect the measure of economic efficiency of the management in question.

The development of the above criteria should be based on the assessment of reaction of aquatic ecosystems on anthropogenic pressing making use of appropriate models. As to anthropogenic forcing, when planning economic activities it should be quantified through mathematical economic models of functioning of water consuming enterprises. Under such conditions, any decision making is impossible without employment of modern information processing technologies. That is why the project is focused on the development of such technologies of integrated water management that will assure the concordance of economic development and preservation of water resources interests. The integrated water management can be based on a system of support of decision making (realized as a software package, SSDM). The development of such a package concept constitutes one of the important tasks of the project.

The project’s scope is within the science and technology development priority areas encompassing information technology, mathematical modeling of economic and ecological processes as well as intellectual systems of management.

Competence of the project team in the specified area

Russian participants possess the extensive experience in the field of ecology, protection of environment, monitoring of water recourses. The participants of the project have large experience in numerical modeling, lake hydrodynamics, remote sensing, GIS-technologies in studying natural waters, and regional climate variability and changes.

The specialists of the Baltic State Technical University (BSTU) have many years' experience of the research applied to the problems of design, construction and performance of air and space - launched missiles. Now members of BSTU group find conversion application and are engaged in modeling of hydro ecological processes existent on river catchments areas, processes of pollution distributions and creation of ecological-economic models. The group is also consists of specialists in modern information technologies for the integrated management of the water resources of the targeted region. They developed and apply into practice of Federal and regional management organizations a number information – analytical-modelling systems for the river basins of NWR.

The basic directions of the scientific studies of the Nansen International Environmental and Remote Sensing Center (NIERSC) are the problems of Global Changes and the study of the environment in the high northern latitudes. Significant attention is paid to the study of ecological state of the North-West Russia region. NIERSC participated in various research programs, addresses problems of climate change in the Arctic, carries out national and internationally coordinated projects, funded by EU, Norwegian Research Council and INTAS.

Northern Water Problems Institute (NWPI) of the Russian Academy of Sciences is a leading Russian scientific center in the area of scientific support for water resources management, control and protection, assessing water objects environmental condition, control, estimating water quality and the effect of water medium on the environment and the population’s health. NWPI research includes the investigation of processes of land hydrological cycle and its monitoring; determination of regularities of the regime of surface, ground and soil waters and their interaction; estimation of the impact of climate changes and human activity on water balance elements and water resources; study of regularities in water quality formation. The Institute participated in the elaboration and realization of many programs concerning water problems in Russia

The Institute for Economics and Mathematics, Russian Academy of Sciences (EMI) studies the theory and methods of modeling and forecasting the response of the environment under the impact of economic activity. The EMI team members have large experience in construction and application the mathematical models of lake hydrodynamics and transport of pollution, lake ecosystem, also solving tasks of sustainable management of water resources. The participants also took part in the elaboration and realization of international projects concerning water-system Lake Ladoga – River Neva – Finnish Gulf. The EMI team consists of specialists in mathematical modeling, biology, limnology.

The study of the environment is the main contribution of the foreign scientists taking part in the collaboration. Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI) made analytical study on satellite remote sensing on freshwater resources. Pirkanmaa Regional Environment Centre (PREC) is a regional public administrative state authority managing and guiding environmental matters. Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center (.NERSC) has great experience in the use of the satellite radar images in the tasks of the environment monitoring. Max Plank Institute for Meteorology (MPI) is one of the leading climate research institutes in the world.

Expected Results and Their Application

The proposed project falls in the category of applied research. The expected outcome of the project will be:

  • Estimation of the NWR water reserve, its quality and the role as a strategic resource of potable water
  • Qualitative and quantitative assessments of observed and expected changes of NWR heat and water balance in the 21th century
  • Assessment of the anthropogenic load on NWR aquatic systems, including the analysis of the economical activity in the region
  • Development of the models of the targeted aquatic systems providing forecasting of changes therein under various scenarios of external, including anthropogenic, forcing
  • Development of Decision Support System (DSS software) for integrated managenmetn of the water resources
  • Scientific recommendations for development of sustainable water management policy in NWR.

The results of the Project is thought to provide different organizations, like Federal and Regional authorities with the information efficient for decision making. The results of the Project will be used for planning industrial and agricultural activities, rational placement of industrial, municipal and agricultural enterprises, and development of water resources protection measures.

Project correspondence to ISTC purposes

The project corresponds to the main ISTC purposes, since it will ensure specialists, who work on the research in fluid, gas and plasma flow as applied to the problems of design, construction and performance of air and space - launched missiles, the possibility to apply their potential for the solution of environmental problems. Four foreign collaborators, having large scientific experience and wide scientific contacts, have agreed to participate in the project, hence, the Russian scientists will be integrated into the world scientific society.

Scope of Activities

Work content of proposed project as a whole will consist of six tasks:

  1. To assess the past and current status of the water resources in NWR
  2. To analyze future changes in temperature, precipitation and evaporation over NWR projected by a set of global climate models of the new generation
  3. To analyze scenarios of the future man-made changes over the studied area
  4. To develop watershed/land and river discharge models for the area under consideration
  5. To assess future changes in the targeted aquatic systems in NWR
  6. To formulate scientific recommendations for development of sustainable water management policy in NWR

Methodology and approach

The following technical approaches and methodologies are to be used for the realization of the project tasks:

  • Modern geo-information technologies
  • Methods of mathematical modeling of the processes of land hydrological cycle
  • Theory and methods of modeling and forecasting the response of the environment under the impact of economic activity
  • Applied statistical analysis of the environmental response to the anthropogenic forcing with the use of advanced statistical technique