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Virtual Water-Science Lab

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on-going new experiments

Status Level A: pan-Europe Level B: Selected catchments
Spatial Patterns - Progress CAPICHE (change) - Progress
Flood change - Progress Nightlights - Progress
GEEHP-kriging - Progress Rootzone storage - Progress
Nutrient estimates - Progress
Land cover change

Work in progress at: SMHI, TUW, TUD, UNIBO, BRISTOL

Virtual Water-Science Laboratory and comparative science

A virtual water-science laboratory; consisting of open data, dedicated software tools, and a set of protocols; will be implemented and hosted at the “SWITCH-ON water information” portal. It shall seamlessly integrate the open data with harmonised modelling
tools and facilitate the performance of virtual experiments of comparative science. Comparative science is a new form of research that will advance science by contrasting water related processes in different environments and help understand complex
processes in a more holistic way than individual studies.

Schematic picture of one, still premature, prototype for a virtual water-science laboratory, constructed for the open-source HYPE code but applicable to any catchment or data-driven model.

The virtual water-science laboratory will include: Standards (WaterML, OGC, etc); Metadata linked to databases; Documentation of codes, tools, etc.; and Laboratory protocols on procedures for experiments. In addition to these more soft components,
the virtual water-science laboratories require the following equipment:

  1. Open data;
  2. Hydrological models;
  3. Tools for pre-processing and post-processing;
  4. Database for up-loading of results to explore correlations and dissimilarities between research
  5. Access to production environments in existing computational clouds (to use more processors);
  6. Easy incorporation of access to new databases.

In the Laboratory a new form of research will be devised, namely, comparative water science and knowledge synthesis. Experiments in the Virtual Water-Science Laboratory will focus on emerging environmental issues and risks related to water science; for example
water supply and allocation, water-driven hazards (as floods and droughts), water quality and ecological concerns; with uncertainty estimation.


The Virtual Water-Science Laboratory across environments and application domains


This new form of water research will be applied in four scientific knowledge domains: (i) floods; (ii) drought and water scarcity; (iii) water quality and deterioration; and (iv) changing conditions. The experiments will be split
into two levels based on the information used: level (A), a pan-European and cross-boundary level using the pan-European open data-sets; level (B) a local/regional level, using more detailed data from national/regional portals and research


Interaction between levels A and B of the experiments in the Virtual Laboratory: example of pan-European global runoff database (Level A, left), detailed regional Austrian case study (Level B, right).