Water lecture

2 December 2015, 11.00 AM - 2 December 2015, 12.30 PM

Queen's building, Room 1.68

This seminar is by Prof. David Hannah, Dr. Stefan Krause, and Dr. Anne Van Loon from the University of Birmingham.
Water in a changing environment: too much, too little, too hot? (Prof. David Hannah)
Understanding how water in our environment responds to climate and other drivers of change is a major challenge for the hydrological sciences. Too much water (flood), too little water (drought) or water that is too hot (extreme temperature) can have profound consequences for aquatic ecosystems and people. It is vital we quantify changes in hydrological fluxes and stores (such as precipitation, river flows and glaciers), and unravel the multiple and synergistic causes of change (including climate, land use and human factors). Such knowledge is imperative to reduce uncertainty over future projections, and develop sustainable water policies and adaption strategies for the betterment of ecosystems and society.
Ecohydrological Interfaces as Hotspots of Biogeochemical Cycling and Ecosystem Functioning (Dr. Stefan Krause)
Ecohydrological interfaces (dynamic transition zones at system boundaries) control the movement of water, materials, organisms and energy between adjacent water-dependent ecosystems. This presentation is providing examples of the non-linear dynamics of water, energy and solute transport across ecohydrological interfaces, creating “hotspots” of biogeochemical and ecological activity. This includes a discussion of the organisational principles (i.e., drivers and controls) of spatially and temporally variable ecohydrological interface functioning, affecting energy and multi-component reactive transport across spatial and temporal scales as well as the cycling of emerging contaminants across system interfaces. The presentation will reflect on ongoing research projects that aim to improve the management of ecohydrological interface functioning by development of novel distributed sensor network and adaptive  model designs.
Pathways to increased understanding and prediction of hydrological extremes (Dr. Anne Van Loon)
Drought and floods are extreme hydrological events that have huge impacts on ecology and society everywhere in the world. It are complex interdisciplinary phenomena that are hard to understand and even harder to predict. To increase our understanding of the driving processes of floods and droughts, we need to study both hydrometeorological and anthropogenic processes. Especially the role of evaporation and snow and the influence of human alterations in the catchment need elucidation. But even more important is increasing our understanding of the bigger picture of hydrological extremes, i.e. feedbacks with ecology and society. To achieve this, improvements in observation, modelling and forecasting are crucial. New methods, such as satellite data and hyper-resolution modelling, need to be explored further for their application to extreme events. More potential has the combinations of different methods and data, for example combining quantitative with qualitative data and comparative hydrology. Drawing from examples of research from colleagues across the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham, this seminar will give an overview of routes forward in the research on hydrological extremes.

Edit this page