The objectives of the project are:
1. To establish a Danish hydrological observatory within the Skjern river catchment and carry out integrated and interdisciplinary measurements and experiments at multiple spatial and temporal scales.
2. To create a high density multi-scale data set that can provide a platform for long-term innovative interdisciplinary hydrological research particularly with respect to development of improved process understandings, scaling theories and integrated hydrological models.
3. To improve the scientific basis for better water resources management decisions and for reducing the uncertainty in water balance closure at catchment scale.
4. To further strengthen the graduate education and training program within hydrology by facilitating PhD scholarships, by providing instrumented field sites, and by providing a data base for theoretical and modeling analyses.
(1) to carry out integrated and interdisciplinary measurements and experiments at multiple spatial and temporal scales.
(2) to establish a high-density, multi-scale, high-quality, and long-time dataset, which can provide a platform for hydrological research with interdisciplinary focus.
(3) to improve the scientific basis for better water resources management decisions and reducing the uncertainty in the water balance closure at catchment scale.
In the Skjern hydrological observatory measurements and integrated interdisciplinary experiments at multiple spatial and temporal scales are carried out using classic state-of-the-art measurement techniques in combination with novel sensor techniques. This provides the basis for analyzing the multi-scale spatial and temporal patterns of the land surface and subsurface systems including system parameters, state variables, in- and outgoing water fluxes, and water fluxes between hydrological compartments. We have utilized recent developments within ground-based, air-borne and space-borne non-invasive geophysical, meteorological, and remote sensing sensors to establish a unique multi-scale dataset. The data provide the basis for improvement of the integrated understanding of hydrological processes at catchment scale and the development of integrated and physically-based hydrological models. The data constitute an invaluable platform for long-term innovative interdisciplinary hydrological research at the highest international level.
The collected project data are routinely imported in a user friendly database. It consists of historical meteorological, hydrological, and geological data from the catchment. The database facilitates easy data-sharing among the scientists and students affiliated to HOBE and dissemination of data to interested parties according to a data policy.
The center activities have resulted in new knowledge and understanding of the individual hydrological processes such as precipitation, soil moisture patterns, evapotranspiration, emission of greenhouse gasses, and groundwater fluxes to streams and Ringkøbing Fjord. Furthermore, innovative results have been obtained with respect to integrated hydrological modeling of the entire catchment in relation to closure of the water balance and parameterization of distributed hydrological models. The research results have improved the scientific basis for better water resources management and for reducing the uncertainty in water balance closure at catchment scale. The latter is currently a pertinent problem for accurate assessment of the water resources in Denmark.
The research accomplishments obtained in HOBE have been published in international journals. A very important contribution is a special issue of the Vadose Zone Journal, vol. 10. 2011. The issue is a significant showcase to the international research community. HOBE has gained considerable international attention which among others is reflected by the invitations to present the center’s research at conferences in Europe and USA and by the international researchers visiting the center.
HOBE has also created widespread interest at the national level. The center is now the pivotal point for hydrological research in Denmark. The research accomplishments have gained significant interest from professionals in the water administration.
Very importantly, the funding from the VILLUM FOUNDATION has been an effective vehicle for attracting grants from other sources. Additional funding has primarily been obtained from the participating universities for funding or co-funding of PhD scholarships. As the bulk research of the center is carried out by PhD students and Postdocs, these co-funding commitments have made it possible to expand the research of the center.
The research activities within the center are closely interlinked and mutually dependent and a trustful and close collaboration between the center institutions and scientists has been established. All center members including faculty and permanent scientists, PhD students, Postdocs, affiliated BSc and MSc students, secretary, and technician meet approximately every second month to discuss progress, present results and new ideas, and plan forthcoming activities. Field inspection and visits to the instrumented sites are included as part of one of the spring meetings.
HOBE’s research is progressing extremely well and according to the research plan. The instruments at the field sites are continuously delivering new data and additional equipment is being installed in order to gain more insight in the hydrological processes under investigation.
An efficient infrastructure has been established which manages deviations from plans and unforeseen activities. All openings of PhD and Postdoc positions have been filled and two PhD students have already successfully defended their theses based on research within HOBE.
The center has received two grants from the VILLUM Foundation: DKK 32.8 mill. in 2007 and DKK 32.0 mill. in 2011. The center will run over a period of 10 years: 2007 – 2017.