Great reading ahead!
1) Water International Volume 37, Issue 5, 2012: Special Issue: Climate Change Impact on Water Security & Adaptive Management in China
From Big Blue's Institute for Business Value (IBV).
From the opening:
The global water system is vulnerable. Essential for health, food, energy, manufacturing and transportation, the global water system is suffering from stress, deteriorating quality, aging and insufficient infrastructure. Managing this critical resource requires a smarter approach to deliver improved outcomes across the water management lifecycle. Using information and analytics, governments, cities, utilities and businesses must take immediate action to deploy a smarter approach to water management to solve the world’s water crisis.
We've all been waiting for this one from all-star committee! Here is the 1991 report that got things started: Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences.
The following is the summary from the Executive Summary Download 13293_EXS
An abundance of liquid water sets Earth apart from almost every planetary body yet discovered in the galaxy. Water shapes the terrestrial surface of the planet and transports the resulting solutes and sediments from moun- taintops to the ocean depths. Water is a crucial element of weather and the climate system. Water determines the form, life history strategies, and productivity of vegetation, ultimately controlling rates of photosynthesis in the biosphere. Water serves as habitat to an immense variety of aquatic species and as a necessary resource for all terrestrial species. Understanding the storage and movement of water through the biosphere is essential for understanding the physical structure, chemistry, biodiversity, and produc- tivity of the biosphere. It is scant wonder that scientists who study Earth and its ecosystems are fascinated by fundamental questions about flows of water and attendant consequences.
Although water is renewable, it is not inexhaustible. Throughout history, civilizations have flourished with abundant water, accomplished engineering feats to secure its presence, and collapsed due to the lack thereof. Today, human influences on the environment are even greater than they were in the past and pose major challenges. Global population growth has led to increased demand for water to support agricultural, industrial, and drinking water needs, with water withdrawals that have become unsustain- able in many parts of the world. Climate variability and change, land use change, and demographic change place varying stress on the planet’s water resources. Access to safe water supplies remains a challenge in many parts of the world. As a result of reduced water supply and quality, the rates of species extinction are highest for freshwater organisms. At the core of the solutions associated with these complex challenges is hydrologic science.
Catalyzed in part by the 1991 National Research Council (NRC) report Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences, the field of hydrologic science (or “water science” or hydrology) has developed into a distinct Earth science discipline with the goal of understanding the movement of water at all scales and environments and its interaction with climate and life on Earth. This understanding is motivated as much by scientific curiosity as by the desire to address critical societal problems related to water and its impact on human welfare and the environment. Over the past 20 years, new scientific understanding has been enabled by unprecedented measurements and observations of hydrologic processes, made possible through technological and scientific advances in chemical analytical instrumentation, new sensor development, remote sensing and geophysical techniques, increased computation capabilities, and improved hydrologic modeling. Today, hydrologic science is a distinct and critical component of geosciences, linking the atmosphere, land, and oceans and contributing to understanding life on Earth. By its very nature, hydrologic science stands at the interdisciplinary inter- face with other geosciences, such as atmospheric, ecological, and biological sciences. As a result, new subdisciplines have emerged or old subdisciplines are maturing that advance the frontiers of interdisciplinary research, e.g., hydroclimatology, hydrometeorology, geobiology, hydroecology, hydrogeomorphology, ecogeomorphology, and Earth-surface dynamics. Hydrologic science is central to all of these fields and, therefore, is becoming itself redefined and enriched.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) requested that the NRC (1) review the current status of hydrologic science and its subfields and the coupling with related geosciences and biosciences, and (2) identify promising new opportunities to advance hydrologic sciences for better understanding of the water cycle that can be used to improve human welfare and the health of the environment.
In response, the NRC formed the Committee on Challenges and Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences, which authored this report. The report is written for the members of the hydrologic community, mainly the research community, which includes not only academics but also scientists and engineers from the private sector, federal agencies (most notably the Hydrologic Science program and other Earth Science programs within NSF, when appropriate), decision makers interested in water research and policy, and those with Earth sciences and water resource-related missions interested in where hydrologic science fits into the surface-earth sciences. The report is also written for graduate and undergraduate students seek- ing inspiration, general knowledge of the field, or guidance when selecting a focus within the field. Although the primary audience is the hydrologic community, the water-related challenges and opportunities presented in the report are complex and broad. Thus, the report reaches out to other disciplines by articulating opportunities for important contribution in collaborations with hydrologic scientists and engineers.
The signature of a scientific challenge is that it is compelling, both in the domain of intellectual curiosity as well as in the domain of consequence for human welfare. Embedded within the water-related issues facing the planet are many such scientific challenges. How does knowledge about the hydrologic past prepare us for the future? Does the planet face shrinking ice and growing deserts? How are bioclimatic zones evolving? Can sufficient clean water be supplied where and when humans and natural ecosystems need it? How much water does an ecosystem need? Can water quality be assessed and managed to protect human and ecosystem health?
The committee identified three major areas that define the key scientific challenges for the hydrologic sciences in the coming decade: The Water Cycle: An Agent of Change, Water and Life, and Clean Water for People and Ecosystems. For each major area, the committee enumerates some of the most challenging concepts and identifies research opportunities for attaining progress in the field; the main message of each is represented in boldface, below. Hydrologic science in the 21st century is a very broad field that encompasses all of traditional hydrologic science as defined in Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences and extends into areas that have traditionally been of interest to other disciplines and related subdisciplines. As such, the field is tasked with integrating and collaborating with related sciences and embracing work in other disciplines and subdisciplines. The report covers physical-hydrological sciences, including physical hydrology, geomorphology, paleohydrology, and climate science; biological-hydrological sciences, including ecohydrology, aquatic ecology, biogeochemistry, soil science, and limnology; and chemical-hydrological sciences, including chemical hydrology, and aquatic geochemistry. The three major areas overlap, reflecting the complex and intertwined water-related challenges facing the hydrologic community and other geosciences. All three major areas present a blend of equally important “curiosity-driven” and “problem- driven” research.
Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences cemented the foundation of the field. This report builds on that foundation by stressing not only further building of the field, but also the broader interdisciplinary potential of a science with an established foundation. It is not possible to capture all of the scientific details contained in the report’s chapters in this summary; those interested in additional synopses may find the concluding sections of each chapter particularly interesting.
Some good things to read.
"You can either live your life as if nothing is a miracle or as if everything is." - Albert Einstein