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ReAdapt - Adapting hydropower to future climate extremes

Precipitation and temperature will change in future climates, presenting new challenges and opportunities for Norwegian hydropower. We anticipate an increase in the frequency, duration, and severity of extreme events such as floods, droughts, and high water temperatures.

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The research project ReAdapt aims to study how we can adapt the hydropower system to a new climate focusing on extreme events. The goal is to maintain or increase hydropower production while preserving biodiversity in well-functioning ecosystems.

Freshwater ecosystems are adapted to historical climate conditions. Hydropower has a recognised impact on freshwater ecosystems, but we have good knowledge of both the effects and mitigation measures. Increased frequency and severity of extreme events may worsen the conditions, but river regulation also provides an opportunity to offset negative climate changes.

ReAdapt will employ ten different scenarios for how climate and extreme events may develop. Hydrological models will be used to calculate inflow, discharge, and water temperature. Power system models, under the leadership of Stian Backe at SINTEF, will be used to determine future energy production, electricity prices, and the operation of reservoirs and power plants.

We are focusing on salmon in ReAdapt because it responds quickly to changes in physical conditions. There is a lot of relevant knowledge about how salmon reacts to various climatic conditions, which we will use in combination with experimental studies at the NINA research station in Ims. There, we will observe how salmon responds to different flow and water temperature conditions, which will, in turn, be used in models for salmon growth and development. Together with models for climate, hydrology, and power production, we can predict how extreme climate events affect salmon and, furthermore, how we can adapt hydropower and implement mitigating measures to ensure both power production and salmon survival in the future climate.


This is a Collaborative and Knowledge-building Project partly funded by the Research Council of Norway.


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Project duration

2023 - 2027

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