OPERR - Operational Pan-European River Runoff

OPERR will provide data for monitoring and warning of flooding events, as well as data on predicted high concentrations of nutrients in flood water. OPERR will also validate and apply data for shelf sea models.

The overall objective of the OPERR project is twofold, first to turn a pan-European river discharge model into an operational discharge model delivering real-time and forecast data to shelf sea models. The discharge model will thereby act as a downstream service based on the currently developed GMES core information service, water.

At the same time, the project’s delivery of essential new data to shelf sea models stimulates the development and improvement of a new downstream service which includes shelf sea models.

The project addresses the pressing need for reasonable estimates of real-time river discharges to seas for driving the shelf-sea models. This objective will be achieved by extending an already running operational river discharge model (HYPE) for the Baltic Sea drainage basin (Donnelly et al, 2009) to cover all European rivers.

Map showing the five subsections of the pan-European river runoff model E-HYPE.

Sustainable operational system

A sustainable operational system will be built up to respond to GMES downstream services such as coastal ocean models, regional environmental commissions including HELCOM and OSPAR, regional and national operational institutes, environmental protection agencies, fishery boards, water regulation bodies and SME’s working in this area.

The pan- European river discharge model is dependent on remotely sensed databases of land cover and land-use from GMES products to parameterise rainfall-runoff processes.

Validation river discharge

The second main objective of the project is the validation of observed river discharge and the river discharge estimates produced by the project in applications of shelf sea models.

The validation of daily river discharge as forcing to shelf sea models includes both operational products for real-time validation and climate studies using hind cast runs. The validation of the performance of shelf sea models is dependent on remotely sensed data of sea surface temperature (NOAA AVHRR and MODIS-Aqua), surface salinity (SMOS) and Chlorophyll (MODIS-Aqua, SeaWiFS).

Studies of the impact of daily river discharge on physical and ecological shelf sea models will support the improvement of the performance of regional ocean models.

Available data will be collated

To upgrade the model to cover the whole of Europe requires support from all regions from the Baltic Sea in the North, to the Black Sea in the East. Existing databases for observed river discharge including the Global Runoff Data Centre (GRDC) and European Water Archive (EWA) will be exploited for model calibration; however, as much real-time hydrological data as possible needs to be accessible on a daily basis.
Some of this data is already available on national data servers. The available data will be collated operationally for running the river discharge model in real-time mode.

All information collected by the project, including project results will be made available to potential users and the public using a file transfer protocol (FTP) and a web site.

An important outcome of the project will be the potential to stimulate new and innovative products for SME’s working with coastal management. This will be achieved by direct contact and active participation in seminars arranged by regional national agencies and consultants working with coastal management.