Impacto del polvo Sahariano en la fusión de nieve en los Pirineos: Mejorando la gestión de la nieve y del agua en un contexto de cambio climático
The project aims to study the effect of Saharan dust deposition on snow melting in the Pyrenees with a double purpose: improve the predictions of snow duration at seasonal basis; and to get better future projection on snowpack characteristics for the next decades. The project will perform analisis at different spatial scales and will cover the full sequence of involved processes from the transport of dust from Sahara, deposition processes on snow and the impact of light absorbing particles on the energy balance and melting of the snowpack.
Once we will get a better understanding of all these processes, we will test how different available scenarios of climate warming in our mountains will affect the relationship between dust and melt rates. The project has a marked multidisciplinar caracter merging experts on climatic modelling, snowpack, meteorology and transport and deposition of aerosols. We will need to combine state of the art techniques on observation and numerical modelling, including in situ observations of the multiespectral snow albedo, physico-chemical analisis of snow samples and atmospheric aerosols, the use of drones and satellites and energy-balance simulations of the snowpack. We propose a very original research at the national and international level, aiming that generated knowledge and infraestructure will markedly boost our research team capabilities in this scientific field. Expected results will have direct implications on 1) the protection of the environments and natural resources -water availability, vegetation and fauna phenology, forest productivity, etc-; 2) the economy of mountain areas and surrounding lowlands linked to dam management for agricultural, hydropower and urban supply; and 3) the safety of local population by developing better information to be directly implemented in avalanche forecast and road maintenance.
The project will take advantage of the pre-existing knowledge and infrastructure created by the research group in previous projects, thanks to anexperienced and highly productive research team that gathers multidisciplinary skills. We also envision an ambitious plan of dissemination and outreach to increase the social awareness on how global change is shaping and will shape our territory.