Hydrology &
Water Level Maps


The sub-project includes measurement and process-based modelling of peatland water levels at selected pilot sites as the basis for an estimate for all Bavarian peatlands. 
The ultimate goal is to develop a Bavarian-wide map of seasonal peatland water levels, as greenhouse gas emissions from peatland sites depend significantly on water levels.

Monitoring of water levels and climate parameters

A hydrological symposium was once entitled "M³: Measure - Model - Manage".
Indeed, hydrological considerations begin with observing what happens in nature:
Under which climatic boundary conditions (precipitation, temperature, direct and indirect solar radiation, wind, humidity, etc.) do which peatland water levels result?

Therefore, climate stations and water level measuring stations were set up at four pilot sites to continuously measure and register what is happening in the area. In addition, the Chair of Hydrology and River Basin Management at TUM took over the supervision of approx. 10 further measuring sites throughout Bavaria, which were set up as part of earlier projects. With regard to natural fluctuations in climate events (wet and dry periods), the measurement data is the more valuable the longer the observation periods are.


Monitoring areas in KliMoBay – State March 2021


KliMoBay weather station in the Freising Fen Peatland (Foto: Friedrich)


Peatland Soil Map and Monitoring Stations in the Benediktbeuren Fen Peatland


Hydrograph of water table depths based on monitored peatland water levels in the Benediktbeuren fen peatland

Conceptual Models to illustrate the hydrological processes in the study area

Which measured variables are decisive and how much water flows where?
So-called conceptual models, which schematically represent the water fluxes in the study area, make even complex systems understandable. They form the basis for planning and setting up the monitoring networks and for later replication in computer models.

Conceptual Model of Weidfilz Bog Peatland (Friedrich, 2019)

Water Cycle Modelling

We calculate the observed water levels with computer models that mathematically describe the essential processes in the area. The more we know about the structure of the hydrogeology and the characteristics of the peat layers, the better measured and calculated water levels match. Reliable models, in turn, allow for predictions about which water levels will result from impoundment, drainage, land use or climate changes.

Top: computed water levels for the Weidfilz bog peatland

Bottom: transect through the Weidfilz bog peatland with different peat- and rock layers

Regionalisation and Bavaria-wide water level maps

We only have measurements and computer models at selected sites. However, in order to be able to estimate the water-level-dependent greenhouse gas emissions on an area-wide basis, we also need Bavaria-wide estimates of the peatland water levels. We are therefore analysing the relationships between terrain (relief), site climate and other influencing variables and the resulting peatland water levels at the observed sites. Using artificial intelligence methods, we can then infer the water levels at other peatland sites in Bavaria from the influencing variables there. The final result should be seasonal water depth maps for all peatland sites in Bavaria by the end of 2022.

Correlation analysis using artificial intelligence and maps of water table depths (prototype)


Team of Project 2

Technical University of Munich, Department of Civil, Geo and Environmental Engineering, Chair of Hydrology and River Basin Management
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Markus Disse (Sub-project management)

  • Prof. Dr. Gabriele Chiogna (Deputy sub-project management)

  • Dr. Alexander Gerner (Project coordination)

  • Sebastian Friedrich (Scientific Staff / Doctoral Candidate)

  • Lucas Alcamo (Scientific Staff)

  • Michael Tarantik (Technician)