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Hydroclimatic shifts driven by human water use for food and energy production
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
2013 (English)In: Nature Climate Change, ISSN 1758-678X, Vol. 3, no 3, 213-217 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Hydrological change is a central part of global change(1-3). Its drivers in the past need to be understood and quantified for accurate projection of disruptive future changes(4). Here we analyse past hydro-climatic, agricultural and hydropower changes from twentieth century data for nine major Swedish drainage basins, and synthesize and compare these results with other regional(5-7) and global(2) assessments of hydrological change by irrigation and deforestation. Cross-regional comparison shows similar increases of evapotranspiration by non-irrigated agriculture and hydropower as for irrigated agriculture. In the Swedish basins, non-irrigated agriculture has also increased, whereas hydropower has decreased temporal runoff variability. A global indication of the regional results is a net total increase of evapotranspiration that is larger than a proposed associated planetary boundary(8). This emphasizes the need for climate and Earth system models to account for different human uses of water as anthropogenic drivers of hydro-climatic change. The present study shows how these drivers and their effects can be distinguished and quantified for hydrological basins on different scales and in different world regions. This should encourage further exploration of greater basin variety for better understanding of anthropogenic hydro-climatic change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 3, no 3, 213-217 p.
National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-91541DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE1719ISI: 000319399000012OAI: diva2:634479
Swedish Research Council, 2009-3221


Available from: 2013-07-01 Created: 2013-06-28 Last updated: 2015-01-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Changes in the Freshwater System: Distinguishing Climate and Landscape Drivers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Changes in the Freshwater System: Distinguishing Climate and Landscape Drivers
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Freshwater is a vital resource that circulates between the atmosphere, the land and the sea. Understanding and quantifying changes to the partitioning of precipitation into evapotranspiration, runoff and water storage change in the landscape are required for assessing changes to freshwater availability. However, the partitioning processes and their changes are complex due to multiple change drivers and effects. This thesis investigates and aims to identify and separate the effects of atmospheric climate change and various landscape drivers on long-term freshwater change. This is done based on hydroclimatic, land-use and water-use data from the beginning of the twentieth century up to present times and across different regions and scales, from catchment to global. The analyzed landscape drivers include historic developments of irrigated and non-irrigated agriculture and flow regulation. The thesis uses and develops further a data-motivated approach to interpret available hydroclimatic and landscape data for identification of water change drivers and effects, expanding the approach application from local to continental and global scales. Based on this approach development, the thesis identifies hydroclimatic change signals of landscape drivers against the background of multiple coexisting drivers influencing worldwide freshwater change, within and among hydrological basins. Globally, landscape drivers are needed to explain more than 70% of the historic hydroclimatic changes, of which a considerable proportion may be directly human-driven. These landscape- and human-driven water changes need to be considered and accounted for also in modeling and projection of changes to the freshwater system on land.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, 2015. 84 p.
Dissertations from the Department of Physical Geography, ISSN 1653-7211 ; 47
Budyko, evapotranspiration, freshwater, hydrology, hydroclimatic change, landscape change, land use, observation data, runoff, separation, water partitioning, water storage change, water use, worldwide
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources Physical Geography Climate Research
Research subject
Physical Geography
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-113101 (URN)978-91-7649-092-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-03-05, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
VR, project 2009-3221
Swedish Research Council, 2009-3221A multiscale, cross‐disciplinary approach to the study of climate change effect on ecosystem services and biodiversity

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 4: Submitted.

Available from: 2015-02-11 Created: 2015-01-23 Last updated: 2015-01-29Bibliographically approved

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