Vulnerability information

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The vulnerability information provided here based on a basic traffic light-like ranking with three categories: 'high vulnerability' (+++), 'moderate vulnerability' (++) and 'low vulnerability' (+) is qualitative, not normalized and unweighted. For that reason no final assessment of vulnerability is done. Additionally, vulnerability characterizations colored in grey are not in the scope of this study but relevant for the specific problem. For details on the vulnerability assessment concept, methodology and classification systems please refer to the complete report attached at the bottom of the page, as well as to the deliverable D11.2 of EUPORIAS ("White paper on sector specific vulnerabilities"), which can be found at here.

Vulnerability characterisation

Referring to the analysis of the critical situation, decision-making processes and critical climate conditions, one primary vulnerability can be identified (see the attachment below).

Vulnerability to decreased discharge (S2D scale). The critical situation is characterized by a critical water level of 2,50 - 2,20m. The interlinked decision-making processes imply the adjustment of vessel size, loading and scheduling to the respective water depths which requires lead-times of 2-12 weeks. The critical climate conditions are below-normal precipitation events continuous or in sequences depending on the location within the Rhine catchment.

  • Scale of critical climate conditions: 3-12 months

  • Temporal scope for climate information: up to 3 months

Vulnerability assessment for S2D-vulnerability

Climate-impact type (+): the ‘climate impact type’ can be classified as primarily ‘systemic climate impact’: this is due to the buffer effect of the catchment which controls the propagation of a meteorological drought to a hydrological or stream flow drought. Thus, a specific period of ‘below average rainfall’ is required to affect the streamflow which is the attribute of concern. The man-made reservoirs are an additional buffers system which stores water flows occurring during a specific period of time. Both buffer systems do have the effect to smooth rainfall variability and aggregate rainfall magnitudes over a period of time (at least for drought conditions). Consequently, information on mean precipitation is suitable for this kind of problem since the timing of precipitation events is of minor importance.

Role of climate (++): the role of climate is that of a production factor with the character of a resource since critical water levels can be compensated but are of dominant importance. Potential impacts can be compensated to a certain degree but always with some economical losses.

Priority of scale (++): decision-making processes on seasonal scale are of primary importance. No short-term DMP is available. Long-term robust decision-options are available but not necessarily preferred.

Success criteria (+): the success criteria are or purely economic nature. The general lack of ethical issues or societal interests moderates the severity of a seasonal critical situation.


SOSRHINE provides seasonal streamflow forecasts for the River Rhine being one of the world’s most frequented waterways to support medium-term to long-term waterway-management and the planning and optimization of the water bound logistic transportation chain.