Climate change is currently a major research driver worldwide regarding natural and human systems vulnerability and related impacts, requiring challenging integrated policies across many areas.
The research unit has been pursuing research on the carbon and water cycle modelling, by using The Carnegie Ames Stanford Approach (CASA) Biosphere model, and the Physically Based Distributed Erosion Model and SWAT models, with published results on impacts of climate change scenarios in the Iberia Peninsula. The knowledge acquired on productivity and water cycle has created the roots to understand the vulnerability and the basis for adaptation to future climate in this region.
The research unit also pursues research on energy systems modeling, by using the TIMES model, both at national level and at Iberia region, and a CGE model. Low carbon pathways have been assessed, focusing on technology development as well as on energy and climate policies evaluation. Understanding how the future energy systems may be shaped is critical due to the lifetime of investments, the inertia inherent to social behaviour, and the sustainability of natural resources. Core sectors as energy, agriculture & forestry share common resources, as water and biomass, which are highly vulnerable to climate change while required for mitigation. Southern Europe is a highly vulnerable region (Magnan et al 2009, Werners 2010], and policy makers and investors do need an integrated approach to accommodate mitigation goals (e.g. more hydropower, bioenergy), adaptation needs (e.g. increasing water demand for agriculture) and potential resources´ limitation (e.g. water shortage). The integrated assessment of adaptation and mitigation measures should be assured aiming to achieve cost-effective decisions.
Hence, the two research lines of the group on biophysical modeling devoted to impact and vulnerability assessment and on low carbon measures aiming cost-effective GHG mitigation are now being evolved into an integrated vision.
PhD research works:
1. João Nunes, SCALE INVARIANCE IN SPATIAL PROCESSES: THE CASE OF SOIL EROSION UNDER CLIMATE CHANGE, 2008. He presently works at University of Aveiro.
2. Nuno Carvalhais, IBERIAN PENINSULA ECOSYSTEM CARBON FLUXES: A MODEL-DATA INTEGRATION STUDY, 2010. N. Carvalhais is presently working at Max-Plank Institute for Biogeochemistry at Jena, Germany.
3. Sofia Simões, COMBINING ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY OBJECTIVES: ADEQUACY OF USING INTEGRATED POLICY APPROACHES TO ELECTRICITY (co-adviser with G. Huppes, Institute of Environmental Sciences, Leiden University, NL)
4. Patrícia Fortes, LONG TERM SCENARIOS FOR ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT, THROUGH HYBRID MODELS. FCT-UNL (Denise Van Regemorter, Louvain University as co-adviser)
5. Patrícia Ribeiro, HOW SPATIAL PLANNING INSTRUMENTS INTEGRATES THE VULNERABILITY OF TERRITORIES TO CLIMATE CHANGE. FCT-UNL (João Ferrão from ICS as co-adviser)
6. João Pedro Gouveia, EMPOWERING COSTUMERS FROM SMART METERS TO POLICY INSTRUMENTS FOR A LOW CARBON ECONOMY: ASSESSING THE DRIVERS FOR THE REDUCTION OF ENERGY CONSUMPTION IN HOUSEHOLDS, FCT-UNL
7. Vera Gregório, URBAN ENERGY TRANSITION FOR A LOW CARBON ECONOMY, FCT-UNL. (Eduardo Oliveira Fernandes from FEUP as co-adviser)
8. Nuno Pacheco, VEGETATION DROUGHT INDICATOR DERIVED FROM REMOTE SENSING DATA, FCT-UNL. (Nuno Carvalhais from Max Planck Institute, and Wolfgang Wagner from Technical University of Wien as co-advisers)
9. Jorge Carmo, MANAGEMENT OF WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANTS: OPPORTUNITIES FOR CLIMATE MITIGATION AND NEEDS FOR CLIMATE ADAPTATION. (co-adviser with S. Matos, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa).