Profiles

Jan Pietron

Forskare

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Works at Department of Physical Geography
Telephone 08-16 48 90
Email jan.pietron@natgeo.su.se
Visiting address Svante Arrhenius väg 8
Room T309
Postal address Inst för naturgeografi 106 91 Stockholm

About me

I hold Ph.D. from Stockholm University (Sweden), in Physical Geography, focusing on hydrology. My main research interest is human impact and land-water risk assessment with respect to hydrological transport processes.  

Publications

A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2014. Rebecka Törnqvist (et al.). Journal of Hydrology 519, 1953-1962

    Climatic changes can profoundly alter hydrological conditions in river basins. Lake Baikal is the deepest and largest freshwater reservoir on Earth, and has a unique ecosystem with numerous endemic animal and plant species. We here identify long-term historical (1938-2009) and projected future hydro-climatic trends in the Selenga River Basin, which is the largest sub-basin (>60% inflow) of Lake Baikal. Our analysis is based on long-term river monitoring and historical hydro-climatic observation data, as well as ensemble mean and 22 individual model results of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, Phase 5 (CMIP5). Study of the latter considers a historical period (from 1961) and projections for 2010-2039 and 2070-2099. Observations show almost twice as fast warming as the global average during the period 1938-2009. Decreased intra-annual variability of river discharge over this period indicates basin-scale permafrost degradation. CMIP5 ensemble projections show further future warming, implying continued permafrost thaw. Modelling of runoff change, however, is highly uncertain, with many models (64%) and their ensemble mean failing to reproduce historical behaviour, and with indicated future increase being small relative to the large differences among individual model results.

  • 2015. Sergey R. Chalov (et al.). Environmental Earth Sciences 73 (2), 663-680

    Many Asian rivers have been intensively used to boost economic growth, resulting in sudden and drastic changes in sediment transport patterns. However, a few rivers are still undisturbed. The present paper considers the unregulated Selenga River and its basin, located in Russia and Mongolia. The river contributes to 50 % of the total inflow to Lake Baikal. Pending scientific challenges include the quantification of sediment loads and erosion-deposition patterns along the Selenga River system, the understanding of suspended particulate matter composition and the importance of peak flow events for total sediment discharge and heavy metal transport. Field data and hydraulic modeling converge on showing that peak flow events during spring and summer contribute to the main part (70-80 %) of the annual sediment and pollution loads in upstream parts of the basin. The Selenga River carries mostly silt and sand. The average particle size differs by a factor of four between summer floods and base flow periods. The low amount of particulate organic matter (ranging between 1 and 16 % in the studied rivers) is consistent with the significant role of sediments originating from mining areas and in-channel sources. The bed load transport in the downstream part of the river basin is high (up to 50 % of the total transport), and channel storage plays an important role in the total sediment transport to Lake Baikal. Reported statistically significant multi-decadal declines in sediment fluxes in the downstream Selenga River can be attributed to the abandonment of cultivated lands and (most likely) to changing hydroclimatic factors.

  • 2015. Jan Pietroń (et al.). Journal of Hydrology 527, 576-589

    Sediment concentration (SC)-water discharge (Q) relations in rivers are typically governed by multiple and relatively complex processes. Due to hysteresis effects, sediment discharges can differ for similar or equivalent water discharges, which causes scatter in empirical datasets and may decrease the predictive power of SC rating curves. Such hysteresis effects must therefore be understood and accounted for to make dependable predictions for river system management. The overall objectives of this study are to develop modelling approaches suitable for reproducing and predicting hysteresis effects at larger scales and to investigate the possible contribution of in-channel processes (erosion and deposition) to sediment concentration hysteresis loops. To investigate relevant field-scale conditions, we develop a one-dimensional dynamic sediment transport model of the downstream Tuul River (northern Mongolia), investigating in-channel processes along a 141 km stretch during a hydrological year. The results show that the present modelling approach can reproduce both anti-clockwise and clockwise hysteresis effects. Importantly, in-channel processes alone can cause considerable anti-clockwise hysteresis effects without being reinforced by catchment processes such as hillslope erosion. Such specific contributions from in-channel processes introduced data scatter into the sediment rating curves, decreasing their R-2-values from unity to approximately 0.5 to 0.6. More generally, possible changes in the number or magnitude of high-flow events, caused by climatic or other anthropogenic factors, could influence total sediment deposition, which was primarily found to occur during relatively short high-flow events. Such potential changes also have important implications for the possible spreading of polluted sediments.

  • 2015. Arvid Bring (et al.). Earths Future 3 (6), 206-217

    The multimodel ensemble of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, Phase 5 (CMIP5) synthesizes the latest research in global climate modeling. The freshwater system on land, particularly runoff, has so far been of relatively low priority in global climate models, despite the societal and ecosystem importance of freshwater changes, and the science and policy needs for such model output on drainage basin scales. Here we investigate the implications of CMIP5 multimodel ensemble output data for the freshwater system across a set of drainage basins in the Northern Hemisphere. Results of individual models vary widely, with even ensemble mean results differing greatly from observations and implying unrealistic long-term systematic changes in water storage and level within entire basins. The CMIP5 projections of basin-scale freshwater fluxes differ considerably more from observations and among models for the warm temperate study basins than for the Arctic and cold temperate study basins. In general, the results call for concerted research efforts and model developments for improving the understanding and modeling of the freshwater system and its change drivers. Specifically, more attention to basin-scale water flux analyses should be a priority for climate model development, and an important focus for relevant model-based advice for adaptation to climate change.

  • 2017. Sergey R. Chalov (et al.).

    Due to specific environmental conditions, headwater catchments located on volcanic slopes and valleys are characterized by distinctive hydrology and sediment transport patterns. However, lack of sufficient monitoring causes that the governing processes and patterns in these areas are rarely well understood. In this study, spatiotemporal water discharge and sediment transport from upstream sources was investigated in one of the numerous headwater catchments located in the lahar valleys of the Kamchatka Peninsula Sukhaya Elizovskaya River near Avachinskii and Koryakskii volcanoes. Three different subcatchments and corresponding channel types (wandering rivers within lahar valleys, mountain rivers within volcanic slopes and rivers within submountain terrains) were identified in the studied area. Our measurements from different periods of observations between years 2012-2014 showed that the studied catchment was characterized by extreme diurnal fluctuation of water discharges and sediment loads that were influenced by snowmelt patterns and high infiltration rates of the easily erodible lahar deposits. The highest recorded sediment loads were up to 9.10(4) mg/L which was related to an increase of two orders of magnitude within a one day of observations. Additionally, to get a quantitative estimate of the spatial distribution of the eroded material in the volcanic substrates we applied an empirical soil erosion and sediment yield model-modified universal soil loss equation (MUSLE). The modeling results showed that even if the applications of the universal erosion model to different non-agricultural areas (e.g., volcanic catchments) can lead to irrelevant results, the MUSLE model delivered might be acceptable for non-lahar areas of the studied volcanic catchment. Overall the results of our study increase our understanding of the hydrology and associated sediment transport for prediction of risk management within headwater volcanic catchments.

  • 2017. Jan Pietroń, Jerker Jarsjö, Enrica Viparelli.

    Different magnitude, intensity and timing of precipitation can impact runoff, hillslope erosion and transport of sediment along river channels.  Human activities, such as dam construction and surface mining can also considerably influence transport of sediment and sediment-bound contaminants. Many river basins of the world are currently subject to changes in climate at the same time as pressures from other human activities increase. However, because there are often complex interactions between such multiple drivers of change, it is challenging to understand and quantify contributions of individual drivers, which is needed in predictive modelling of future sediment and contaminant flows. This thesis considers sediment transport in the Lake Baikal basin, which is hydrologically dominated by the transboundary Selenga River of Russia and Mongolia. The Selenga River basin is, for instance, subject to climate change and increasing pressures from mining, but process complexity is reduced by the fact that the river basin is one of few large basins in the world that still is essentially undammed and unregulated. A combination of field measurement campaigns and modelling methods are used in this thesis, with the aim to: (i) identify historical hydroclimatic trends and their possible causes, (ii) analyse the spatial variability of riverine sediment loading in the mining affected areas, and (iii) investigate sediment transport and storage processes within river channels and in river deltas. Results show that, during the period 1938-2009, the annual maximum daily flow in the Selenga River basin has decreased, as well as the annual number of high flow events, whereas the annual minimum daily flow has increased. These changes in discharge characteristics are consistent with expected impacts of basin-scale permafrost thaw. Both field observations and modelling results show that changes in magnitude and number of high-flow events can considerably influence the transport of bed sediment. In addition, the average discharge has decreased in the past 20 years due to an extended drought. Under conditions of low flow, metal-enriched sediment from mining areas was observed to dominate the river water. If discharge will continue to decrease in the Selenga River (or other mining-impacted rivers of the world), further increases in riverine metal concentrations may hence be one of the consequences. Furthermore, under current conditions of extended drought, less sediment may have been distributed over the floodplain wetlands in the Selenga River delta. Present estimates, however, show that sediment can still be transported to, and deposited within, the banks and water bodies located in the backwater zone of the Selenga River delta. This can aid bank and levee stabilization, support the development of wetlands and foster net sedimentation.​

  • 2017. Sandra Fischer (et al.). Regional Environmental Change 17 (2), 515-526

    The Brahmaputra River in South Asia carries one of the world's highest sediment loads, and the sediment transport dynamics strongly affect the region's ecology and agriculture. However, present understanding of sediment conditions and dynamics is hindered by limited access to hydrological and geomorphological data, which impacts predictive models needed in management. We here synthesize reported peer-reviewed data relevant to sediment transport and perform a sensitivity analysis to identify sensitive and uncertain parameters, using the one-dimensional model HEC-RAS, considering both present and future climatic conditions. Results showed that there is considerable uncertainty in openly available estimates (260-720 Mt yr(-1)) of the annual sediment load for the Brahmaputra River at its downstream Bahadurabad gauging station (Bangladesh). This may aggravate scientific impact studies of planned power plant and reservoir construction in the region, as well as more general effects of ongoing land use change and climate change. We found that data scarcity on sediment grain size distribution, water discharge, and Manning's roughness coefficient had the strongest controls on the modelled sediment load. However, despite uncertainty in absolute loads, we showed that predicted relative changes, including a future increase in sediment load by about 40 % at Bahadurabad by 2075-2100, were consistent across multiple model simulations. Nevertheless, for the future scenarios we found that parameter uncertainty almost doubled for water discharge and river geometry, highlighting that improved information on these parameters could greatly advance the abilities to predict and manage current and future sediment dynamics in the Brahmaputra river basin.

  • 2017. Jan Pietroń (et al.). Catena (Cremlingen. Print) 152, 82-93

    Surface mining can contribute to increasing riverine loads of potentially metal-enriched sediments. However, the related human disturbances and natural processes reflect a great complexity, which hinders quantitative Understanding. We here consider the Zaamar Goldfield in Mongolia, one of the world's largest placer mining sites, located in the Tuul River basin (upper Lake Baikal basin). A main study aim is to investigate relations between patterns of increased sediment loads along the Tuul River and the (spatially variable) area coverage of active or recently abandoned placer mines in the river vicinity. Specifically, we compare observed loads derived from nested catchment areas with the output from spatially distributed soil erosion modelling. Results showed that riverine sediment loads in mining areas reflect soil losses both from soil erosion and direct human impacts (e.g. waste water discharge), which are two to three orders of magnitude higher than the input from natural areas dominated by soil erosion alone. Notably, the sediment load contributions from the mining areas were insensitive to changes in hydrometeorological conditions, whereas contributions from natural areas were much lower during drier periods (as expected when governed by soil erosion by water). Accordingly, the relative contribution to the total sediment load (TSL) of metal-enriched soil from mining areas is likely to be particularly pronounced (with estimated values of about 80% of TSL) under drier hydrometeorological conditions. This is consistent with observations of considerably elevated metal concentrations under low flow conditions and implies that if annual average discharge continues to decrease in the Tuul River as well as the entire Selenga River system, increased metal concentrations may be one of the consequences.

  • 2018. Jan Pietroń (et al.). Hydrological Processes 32 (2), 278-292

    The Selenga River delta (Russia) is a large (>600km(2)) fluvially dominated fresh water system that transfers water and sediment from an undammed drainage basin into Lake Baikal, a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site. Through sedimentation processes, the delta and its wetlands provide important environmental services, such as storage of sediment-bound pollutants (e.g., metals), thereby reducing their input to Lake Baikal. However, in the Selenga River delta and many other deltas of the world, there is a lack of knowledge regarding impacts of potential shifts in the flow regime (e.g., due to climate change and other anthropogenic impacts) on sedimentation processes, including sediment exchanges between deltaic channels and adjacent wetlands. This study uses field measurements of water velocities and sediment characteristics in the Selenga River delta, investigating conditions of moderate discharge, which have become more frequent over the past decades (at the expense of peak flows, Q>1,350m(3)s(-1)). The aims are to determine if the river system under moderate flow conditions is capable of supporting sediment export from the main distributary channels of the delta to the adjacent wetlands. The results show that most of the deposited sediment outside of the deltaic channels is characterized by a large proportion of silt and clay material (i.e., <63m). For example, floodplain lakes function as sinks of very fine sediment (e.g., 97% of sediment by weight<63m). Additionally, bed material sediment is found to be transported outside of the channel margins during conditions of moderate and high water discharge conditions (Q1,000m(3)s(-1)). Submerged banks and marshlands located in the backwater zone of the delta accumulate sediment during such discharges, supporting wetland development. Thus, these regions likely sequester various metals bound to Selenga River sediment.

  • 2017. Josefin Thorslund (et al.). Ecological Engineering 108 (Part B), 489-497

    Wetlands are often considered as nature-based solutions that can provide a multitude of services of great social, economic and environmental value to humankind. Changes in land-use, water-use and climate can all impact wetland functions and services. These changes occur at scales extending well beyond the local scale of an individual wetland. However, in practical applications, engineering and management decisions usually focus on individual wetland projects and local site conditions. Here, we systematically investigate if and to what extent research has addressed the large-scale dynamics of landscape systems with multiple wetlands, hereafter referred to as wetlandscapes, which are likely to be relevant for understanding impacts of regional to global change. Although knowledge in many cases is still limited, evidence suggests that the aggregated effects of multiple wetlands in the landscape can differ considerably from the functions observed at individual wetland scales. This applies to provisioning of ecosystem services such as coastal protection, biodiversity support, groundwater level and soil moisture regulation, flood regulation and contaminant retention. We show that parallel and circular flow-paths, through which wetlands are interconnected in the landscape, may largely control such scale-function differences. We suggest ways forward for addressing the mismatch between the scales at which changes take place and the scale at which observations and implementation are currently made. These suggestions can help bridge gaps between researchers and engineers, which is critical for improving wetland function-effect predictability and management.

Show all publications by Jan Pietron at Stockholm University

Last updated: March 9, 2018

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