New Master thesis: „Sustainability of Groundwater in the Mediterranean in the Context of Climate Change – An Investigation of Groundwater Recharge Projections using an Ensemble of Global Hydrological Models”
Daniel Kretschmer from Technical University of Munich has written his master thesis on “Sustainability of Groundwater in the Mediterranean in the Context of Climate Change” in cooperation with ICWRGC. Mr. Kretschmer successfully defended his thesis on 31.05.2021.
The Mediterranean is already being heavily affected by an increasing number of natural disasters such as forest fires and droughts. Current climate projections show that the trend of decreasing rainfall and rising temperatures in the Mediterranean will continue. Due to a simultaneous increase of population and a strong use of groundwater resources, the question arises whether existing water reserves can be sustainably used.
Groundwater recharge is the central process ensuring that groundwater resources are replenished and that decides on whether any sustainable use is feasible. If more water is withdrawn than can be recharged, the aquifer will dry up sometime. But the process of groundwater recharge is highly complex and hardly explored on large scales.
In his study, Mr. Kretschmer analysed results of a model ensemble (a combination of 8 global hydrological models and 4 climate models) with regard to groundwater recharge in the Mediterranean under various climate scenarios. The results show that groundwater recharge under RCP2.6 will be reduced on average by 20% and by 30% under RCP6.0. However, the model results of the study show substantial uncertainties.
To read the PDF of the entire Master thesis, please contact Daniel Kretschmer:
It shows that the way of handling water quality data collection varies largely by global standards. There are often big data gaps, especially in poorer countries. According to the report, more than 3 billion people worldwide could be at risk, given that the quality of their freshwater ecosystems is unknown. On the whole, data from 96 countries were reported; the water quality of 60% of these water bodies was rated as “good”. These were distributed across all regions of the world.
The report presents various acceleration measures intended to speed up implementation of target 6.3 for a good global water quality by 2030. These include the expansion of data infrastructure, goal-oriented capacity development, closing of financial gaps in the water sector and the development of novel, innovative approaches in science and by means of integrated water resources development.
Since 2014, the GEMS/Water Data Centre located at the ICWRGC has been involved in indicator 6.3.2 reporting as an implementation partner.
How moist is the earth’s soil? Germany’s International Water Centre (ICWRGC) and Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG) take over the permanent operation of the global soil moisture network ISMN from TU Wien
How moist is the earth’s soil? This is an important question – especially for agriculture, the better understanding of the global and regional water cycle and water management, and also for climate research, forecasting weather, flood or drought disasters. All over the world, there are highly different collections of data on this. However, unless they are processed, so that they can be compared and merged, they are of little use.
In order to process soil moisture data globally, the International Soil Moisture Network (ISMN) has been developed with project-based money by the European Space Agency (ESA) at the Vienna University of Technology in 2009. Since then, the TU Wien has been very successful and has become an important international data source for applied research and science.
However, the ISMN is not the only quasi-operational data initiative financed by research funds that is unable to provide sustainable operational services in the long run. But as regards soil moisture, this issue has now been solved and the ISMN is being elevated to a new institutional level. The German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) confirmed to fund this important network and to establish its permanent operation with ICWRGC and BfG. This is an example how innovative and applied research products are being handed over to sustainable operation. The ICWRGC will lead the network with the technical and scientific backup of the BfG and will be the contact point for providers and users.
This means that all developed ISMN operations are going to be transferred to BfG and ICWRGC in Koblenz, Germany under ongoing service with a gradual hand-over and full completion by the end of next year 2022, at the latest. After the completion of the transfer by the end of 2022, TU Wien will accompany operation and scientific work at ICWRGC and BfG with their scientific expertise as needed.
The planning for the transfer has already officially started . It is of greatest interest that the existing data providers further support this network for future-oriented solutions in the area of freshwater resource management and the achievement of the UN Sustainability Goals, especially SDG 6 and the related ones. In this context, an advanced involvement of WMO and FAO is being pursued.
Also in the future, ISMN will continue to support the efforts of the Global Energy and Water Exchanges Project (GEWEX), the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), the Global Climate Observing System – Terrestrial Observation Panel for Climate (GCOS-TOPC), the Group of Earth Observation (GEO), and the Global Terrestrial Network on Hydrology (GTN-H). In doing so, the intellectual property rights provisions of the respective data providers will of course continue to be respected and implemented. The aim is to improve our common understanding of soil moisture in the context of available freshwater resources and in the hydrological cycle.
In this context, ICWRGC and BfG have jointly started the recruitment with an open call for five permanent full-time positions with the deadline of 29 July 2021.
If you have questions regarding the transfer, please do not hesitate to contact .
Four (out of five) positions have already been advertised – with an application deadline of July 29, 2021.
The annual General Assembly of the European Geoscience Union 2021 lies behind us, and ICWRGC has participated not only in scientific discussions, but also with presentations and convener responsibilities. Dr. Marianela Fader presented the key results of the water chapter of the MedECC report with the solicited talk “Future water-related risks and management options in the Mediterranean basin” in the session “Changes in the Mediterranean hydrology: observation and modeling”. Renee van Dongen was co-convener of the networking session “Crowd-solving Problems in Earth Sciences” in which i.a. alternatives for fieldwork-based research were discussed. Dr. Stephan Dietrich presented a contribution with the title “Global Terrestrial Network of Water Resources Observation Infrastructures“ in the session “The Importance of Being Global – Globally coordinated Research Infrastructures to support the UN system”. ICWRGC-colleagues Harald Koethe, Denise Cáceres and Stephan Dietrich were also co-authors of the presentation “Co-developing a data and knowledge portal to support stakeholder risk assessments with uncertain, global, multi-model based information on hydrological hazards of climate change”, which was showcased by first author Fabian Kneier in the session “Climate Services – Underpinning Science”.
18,155 scientists from 136 countries virtually attended the vEGU21, which provided 13,643 live presentations in 642 scientific sessions, 5 Union Symposia, 32 Medal and Award Lectures, 5 Great Debates and 56 Short Courses. We also want to share our perceptions about vEGU21, even if they can only be subjective due to the impossibility of visiting all events. Without having numbers, water-related topics in general seem to be growing as a topic of interest, also in other EGU divisions than the hydrological division. Furthermore, interdisciplinary sessions seem to be gaining in importance. While ten years ago sessions with a water-food-energy-ecosystem nexus were almost not represented, this topic has strongly increased its influence in the last years. In general, there seems to be an increase in applied sciences towards societally-relevant topics, even in sessions where basic research traditionally used to be very dominant. Short Courses and debates are also on the increase. There seems to be a declining interest in climate change impacts on hydrology. While the topic is still very well represented in numerous sessions, there seems to be an increasing interest in topically broader, socio-hydrology sessions.
Scientific associate at the International Centre for Water Resources and Global Change (UNESCO)
Federal Institute of Hydrology
P.O. Box 200253
56002 Koblenz, Germany
Variability of total water storage on land at global and basin scale and implications for ocean mass change and sea-level variations
Influence of human intervention and natural climate variability on total water storage change on land
Scope of duties
Dissemination of the CO-MICC project
Since March 2017: PhD candidate at the Institute of Physical Geography of the Goethe University Frankfurt. Topic: “Assessment of global and regional total water storage variations on land and identification of main natural and human drivers in the period 1948-2016”.
June-August 2020: Research fellow at the Young Scientists Summer Programme of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. Topic: “Assessing water storage variability in large exorheic river basins from global hydrological models in the period 1948-2016”.
2013-2015: Master of Science in Hydrology and Environmental Risks at the University of Montpellier, France. Master thesis: “Physically-based runoff modelling in headwaters in the Everest valley of Nepal”.
2010-2013: Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences at the University of Aix-Marseille, France. Bachelor thesis: “Comparative analysis of socio-environmental quality of four Sevillian Plazas”.
Cáceres, D., Marzeion, B., Malles, J. H., Gutknecht, B. D., Müller Schmied, H. and Döll, P.: Assessing global water mass transfers from continents to oceans over the period 1948–2016, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 24(10), 4831–4851, doi: https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-24-4831-2020, 2020.
Reinecke, R., Foglia, L., Mehl, S., Trautmann, T., Cáceres, D. and Döll, P.: Challenges in developing a global gradient-based groundwater model (G3M v1.0) for the integration into a global hydrological model, Geoscientific Model Development, 12(6), 2401–2418, doi: https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-12-2401-2019, 2019.
Müller Schmied, H., Cáceres, D., Eisner, S., Flörke, M., Herbert, C., Niemann, C., Peiris, T. A., Popat, E., Portmann, F. T., Reinecke, R., Schumacher, M., Shadkam, S., Telteu, C.-E., Trautmann, T., and Döll, P.: The global water resources and use model WaterGAP v2.2d: model description and evaluation, Geoscientific Model Development, 14, 1037–1079, doi: https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-14-1037-2021, 2021.
This year’s German Hydrology Day (TdH) will be held in two parts due to the Corona pandemic. For the first time, there will be an online event with presentations on current hydrological issues for the World Water Day on March 22, 2021. The second part will be a presentation event in summer from August, 30 to September 1, 2021, which will take place on the Griebnitzsee Campus of the hosting University of Potsdam. Both events are organised by the Presidium of the German Hydrological Society (DHG) and the “Fachgemeinschaft Hydrologische Wissenschaften (FgHW)”.
The Online Hydrology Day on March 22, 2021, will start at 1:30 pm and end at 4:00 pm. The specific program and further information are available on the following website:
World Water Development Report 2021 “Valuing Water”
Water must be given a higher priority – this is what this year’s United Nations World Water Development Report “Valuing Water” calls for. The report is produced annually by UNESCO’s World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) for UN-Water and is traditionally released on March 22 – the World Water Day. The report shows that while there is a global consensus that freshwater is essential for survival and a human right, and that health, sanitation, agriculture and industry are not possible without clean water. Yet, there is a lack of attention and investment in this limited and vital resource in everyday political life. Instead, freshwater is far too often taken for unlimited granted, privatised, polluted and wasted worldwide. Therefore, the World Water Development Report concludes that the value of water needs to be more precisely determined for concrete political decisions and promotes defining the value of water with new methods and measures.
The UN-Water Integrated Monitoring Initiative for SDG 6 (IMI-SDG6) has compiled a new summary on the state of implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6, water and sanitation for all). The report is based on the most recent reporting data of the global SDG 6 indicators submitted by the UN member states on various subtargets such as drinking water, sanitation, wastewater and transboundary cooperation. At national, regional and global levels, the data reveal the degree of progress made towards the implementation of the various aspects of SDG 6 in different parts of the world and point out where the global community lags behind the targets set. Moreover, the report quantifies the type of strategies required to speed up progress, in order to meet the targets set by 2030.
New water quality data from Germany has reached the GEMStat database. The total submission contains 1,663,872 samples covering 167 parameter classes and 1666 stations between 2008-2018. The data has been provided by the German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt, UBA).
The data can be accessed via the homepage of the GEMS/Water Data Centre:
Software development has become an integral part of the geosciences as models and data processing get more sophisticated. Paradoxically, it poses a threat to scientific progress as the pillar of science, reproducibility, is seldomly reached. Software code tends to be either poorly written and documented or not shared at all; proper software licenses are rarely attributed. This is especially worrisome as scientific results have potential controversial implications for stakeholders and policymakers and may influence the public opinion for a long time.
In recent years, progress towards open science has led to more publishers demanding access to data and source code alongside peer-reviewed manuscripts. Still, recent studies find that results can rarely be reproduced.
In this project, we conduct a poll among the geoscience community which is advertised via scientific blogs (AGU, EGU), research networks (researchgate.net and mailing lists), and social media. Therein, we strive to investigate the causes for that lack of reproducibility. We take a peek behind the curtain and unveil how the community develops and maintains complex code and what that entails for reproducibility. Our survey includes background knowledge, community opinion, and behaviour practices regarding reproducible software development.
We postulate that this lack of reproducibility might be rooted in insufficient reward within the scientific community, insecurity regarding proper licencing of software and other parts of the research compendium as well as scientists’ unawareness about how to make software available in a way that allows for proper attribution of their work. We question putative causes such as unclear guidelines of research institutions or that software has been developed over decades, by researchers’ cohorts without a proper software engineering process and transparent licensing.
To this end, we also summarize solutions like the adaption of modern project management methods from the computer engineering community that will eventually reduce costs while increasing the reproducibility of scientific research.
Preliminary results and data will be available mid-August 2021.