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Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 69, Issue 2, pp 695–705 | Cite as

John’s creek valley: a mountainous catchment for long-term interdisciplinary human-environment system research in Upper Styria (Austria)

  • U. Strasser
  • T. Marke
  • O. Sass
  • S. Birk
  • G. Winkler
Special Issue

Abstract

The John’s creek valley (Johnsbachtal) is presented as a long-term, interdisciplinary cooperation platform in upper Styria (Austrian Alps) that brings together the interests and knowledge of persons with different backgrounds (scientists, teachers, students, as well as local actors and the population) with the central aim to generate mutual benefit for all involved parties. It covers an area of around 65 km2 with elevations between 600 and 700 m in the valley to over 2,300 m in the summit regions. Annual mean temperature ranges from approximately 8 °C in the lower elevations of the valley to below 0 °C in the summit regions. Annual precipitation mounts to values of 1,500 mm and more than 1,800 mm in the lower elevations and summit regions, respectively. To allow for a long-term monitoring of the complex meteorological and hydrological conditions in the area, a hydroclimatological monitoring network has been installed that is described in detail in this paper. A special characteristic of the installed meteorological stations is that they cover a large range of altitudes and, therefore, allow to capture the gradients in meteorological variables induced by the complex Alpine topography. Furthermore, the hydroclimatological monitoring network in John’s creek valley is largely independent of regular third-party project funding, and therefore, not temporarily limited in its existence. A number of catchment research activities that cover a variety of disciplines (e.g., climatology, hydrology, (hydro)geology, geomorphology) and that largely benefit from the hydroclimatological data recorded in John’s creek valley are presented together with preliminary results. The latter include spatial distributions of meteorological and hydrological variables (e.g., precipitation, evapotranspiration and snowmelt) calculated for the test site using the hydrometeorological model AMUNDSEN. Furthermore, the results of hydrogeological investigations that have been carried out at the Etzbach spring are presented and discussed.

Keywords

Climate change Interdisciplinary research Catchment hydrology High Alpine monitoring network 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The work presented here could not have been realized without the greatful support of the mentioned partners. We highly acknowledge all their contributions, their engagement, and the respect of their institutions in the joint effort of the project. May it further be of great benefit for research and education. We greatly acknowledge all the support and the helping hands, mainly those of Daniel Krainer (Gesäuse National Park Administration), Ludwig Wolf (major of the community Johnsbach and Kölblwirt) and Axel Podesser (Zentral Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics, Graz). We thank Andreas Pilz (Environmental Measuring Techniques Pilz) for the correction of an earlier version of the manuscript and his continuous support regarding the installation and maintenance of our technical instrumentation in the John’s creek valley.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • U. Strasser
    • 1
  • T. Marke
    • 1
  • O. Sass
    • 2
  • S. Birk
    • 3
  • G. Winkler
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of GeographyUniversity InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  2. 2.Department of Geography and Regional ScienceUniversity GrazGrazAustria
  3. 3.Institute for Earth SciencesUniversity GrazGrazAustria

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