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Zahra Kalantari

Profile picture of Zahra Kalantari


About me

Associate Professor in Environmental and Engineering Geosciences for Sustainability in the Anthropocene

Docent in Physical Geography

Director of WaterCentre

Director of Studies for education on doctoral level at SEED

Faculty Member of KTH Faculty Council

I am coordinator and leading investigator of a number of ongoing projects, contributing and also stimulating further essential work for wise and sustainable management of water resources. I have created a legacy of research-policy-practice collaboration to build long-term institutional capacity and a knowledge base about the greatest challenges in Sweden and internationally, such as climate change-related impacts on risk, sustainability and resilience. In my research, I have made critical contributions to advancing understanding of coupled human-natural processes, particularly the interactions of complex environments with water resources, land use, and climate. I have also made key contributions to bridging the gap between science and practice in Sweden and beyond, including in the development and use of hydro-climate science for climate adaptation and mitigation. I have extensive experience in building and using hydrological models, in Europe and around the world. I am also a thought leader in both research and practice for adapting built environments to water-related climate risks and climate action planning. I have been PI in 20+ interdisciplinary research projects of relevance and accessibility for politicians and regional and local stakeholders, involving parties from different societal sectors. My main research interests are:

- Complex Human-Nature Systems Analysis and Risk Assessment

- Regional and global hydrology and water resources issues

- Combined effects of land use and climate change on hydrological responses

- Sustainable urban and rural development and adaptive land-use planning for decision support

- Vulnerability assessment to water-related disasters and conflicts (application of modeling, machine learning, AI)

- AI-powered knowledge integration to Carbon-neutrality

- Nature-based solutions and ecosystem services;

- Smart city

Our team

Ioannis Iakovidis (Ph.D. student at SEED/KTH), Real-time monitoring system of changes in water bodies

Sara Anamaghi (Ph.D. student at SEED/KTH), Forest Resilience

Amir Rezvani (Ph.D. student at SEED/KTH), Sustainable planning, hydrological extremes, NBS

Jung-Ching Kan (Ph.D. student at SEED/KTH and SEI), AI and Machine Learning

Marlon Vieira Passos (Ph.D. student at SEED/KTH and SEI ), HydroHazards

Massoud Behboudian (postdoc at SEED/KTH), Water Resources Systems Management

Elisie Jonsson (postdoc at SEED/KTH), Landscape resilience, adapt and mitigate hydrological extremes

Jessica Page (postdoc at SU), AI-powered knowledge integration to Carbon-neutral Cities

Carla Ferreira (postdoc at SU), land use and climate change

Navid Ghajarnia (postdoc at SU), global hydrology

Samaneh Seifollahi (postdoc at SU), water system analysis and management

Elisie Jonsson (Ph.D. student at Su), climate change and conflicts (main supervisor), Finished 2024

Jessica Page (Ph.D. student at SU), sustainable urban and regional development (main supervisor), Finished 2023

Jacopo Cantoni (Ph.D. student at SU), IoT and data mining (co-supervisor)

Romain Goldenberg (Ph.D. student at SU), urban ecosystem services (co-supervisor), Finished 2022

Yan Ma (Ph.D. student at SU), hydroclimate and infectious diseases (co-supervisor), Finished 2022

Selected recent national and international assignments

- Associate Editor ofWater Resources Research,since 2023.

- Associate Editor ofAMBIO (A Journal of the Human Environment),since 2019.

- Associate Editor ofLand Degradation and Development (LDD), since 2018.

- Guest Editor of Special Issue on STOTEN,Anthropocene,Land Degradation and Development,Journal of Environmental Management,Water, Sustainability, Remote Sensing, Nature Scientific Reports

- Representative of Sweden and member of the Board and Steering Committee of European COST Action CONNECTEUR; Land4Flood; DAMOCLES;  FIRELINKSFutureMed


Selected Ongoing Projects

  • 2024-2027: PI for LandEX: Improving Landscape resilience by integrating measures to adapt and mitigate hydrological EXtremes, funded by Formas, 300 000 Euros
  • 2024-2026: PI for DeepAqua, Revolutionizing the quantification of surface water changes with deep learning funded by Digital Futures, 200 000 Euros
  • 2023-2026: PI from KTH for 'PUDDLE JUMP: Promoting Upstream-Downstream Directed Linkages in the Environment: “Joined-Up” Management Perspectives' funded by Formas, 300 000 Euros
  • 2023-2027: PI from KTH for ReForMit: Understanding and securing the resilience of forest-based climate change mitigation funded by Formas, 1 400 000 Euros
  • 2022-2025: PI for ' Nature for Insurance, Insurance for Nature (NATURANCE)' funded by Horizon Europe, 300 000 Euros
  • 2021-2025: PI for 'Science for a secure society: Hydro-climatic hazard, risk, and crisis management in Sweden (CrisAct)' funded by VR. 680 000 Euros
  • 2021-2025: PI for 'AI-powered knowledge integration to Carbon-neutral Cities' funded by Formas. 400 000 Euros
  • 2021-2024: PI for ‘Deep Reinforcement Learning and Large-Scale Simulations' funded by Digital Futures. 120 000 Euros (total project budget 250 000 Euros)
  • 2024-2026: Co-PI for DeepFlood: Enhancing large scale Flood Detection and Mapping using PolSAR, Metaheuristic, and Deep Learning Algorithms, funded by Digital Futures, 200 000 Euros
  • 2024-2028:  PI for RESOLVE: Developing climate-resilient and eco-sustainable railway earthwork by mitigating geohazards while balancing biodiversity, funded by Horizon Europe

Recently completed

  • 2020-2022: PI for ‘ChangeMakers - Start-ups for sustainable environment created by youngsters change makers’, funded by Central Baltic. 190 000 Euros (total project budget 1 078 848 Euros)
  • 2018-2022 Director of Navarino Environmental Observatory (NEO). Funding from Stockholm University and private sector for research in climate change and the environment of the Mediterranean region. Total budget (5 years) about 500 000 Euros.
  • 2019-2022: PI for ‘Carbon-neutral cities’, funded by VR. 388 700 Euros
  • 2019-2022: PI for ‘The missing link: How does climate affect human conflict and cooperation through water?’, funded by Formas. 300 000 Euros
  • 2019-2021: Co-PI for ‘The 'infrastructural turn' in urban service delivery: insights into municipal solid waste management in African cities’, funded by Formas. 260 000 Euros
  • 2018-2022: Co-PI for ‘COASTAL – Collaborative land-sea integration platform’, funded by EU- H2020. 500 000 Euros (total project budget 5,000,000 Euros)
  • 2020: PI for ‘Coupled social-ecological systems modeling of urban land-use changes, greenhouse gas emissions, and management policies’, funded by Region Stockholm. 40 000 Euros
  • 2019: PI for ‘Developing a mapping framework for Arctic wetlands across scales’ funded by Arctic Avenue and ASIAQ. 20 000 Euros
  • 2018: PI for ‘Nature-based solutions for flood-drought risk mitigation in vulnerable urbanizing regions. Planning funds for interdisciplinary research initiatives. 10 000 Euros
  • 2018: Co-PI for ‘Water monitoring networks – iWater’, funded by Vinnova, Sweden’s innovation agency, awarded in 2018, 602 200 Euros
  • 2018: Co-PI for ‘iWater - Övervakning av vattenkvalitet för framtidens smarta städer, funded by Vinnova, Sweden’s innovation agency, 2018, 47 200 Euros
  • 2017: PI for ‘Landscape analysis and climate change’, funded by Swedish Government - Strategic Research Area Funds. 137 600 Euros
  • 2017: PI for ‘Sustainable urban-regional development and watershed planning in Stockholm region’, funded by Stockholm County (SLL). 40 000 Euros
  • 2017: PI for ‘Scoping for resilience and management of Arctic wetlands’, funded by the Swedish Ministry of Environment and Energy through Formas. 26 380 Euros
  • 2016: Co-PI for ‘Water monitoring networks –iWater’, funded by Vinnova, Sweden’s innovation agency, awarded in 2016, SEK 150 000 Euros
  • 2015: PI for ‘Ecosystem services supply and beneficiaries in the landscape’, funded by SSEESS, KVA. 10 000 Euros
  • 2014-2018: PI for ‘Quantifying the influence of various land uses and/or management strategies on the hydrological impacts of high flows and other extreme weather events, under current and future climate conditions’, funded by Formas. 300 000 Euro


Applied Hydrogeology (AL2301), examiner, course responsible, teacher | Course web

Degree Project in Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Infrastructure, Second Cycle (AL230X), examiner | Course web

Degree Project in Hydraulic Engineering, Second Cycle (AF283X), examiner | Course web

Earth Science and Land Use in Practice (AL1300), teacher | Course web

Engineering Geology (AE2401), examiner, teacher | Course web

Geoscience (AE1106), examiner, teacher | Course web

Geoscience and Geotechnical Engineering (AL1302), examiner, teacher | Course web

Modelling of Water Systems (AE2107), teacher | Course web

Natural Resources Theory (AL1301), examiner, course responsible | Course web

Presentation of Research at International Conferences, Part 2 (FAE3013), examiner | Course web

Presentation of Research at International Conferences, part 1 (FAE3012), examiner | Course web

Research Communication, Publishing, Presentation and Critical Evaluation, Part 1 for Lic Degree (FAE3006), examiner | Course web

Research Communication, Publishing, Presentation and Critical Evaluation, part 2 for PhD Degree (FAE3007), examiner | Course web

Soil and Water (AL1303), teacher

Writing Popular Science Publications (FAE3011), examiner | Course web