Humans Transforming the Water Cycle: Community-Based Activities in Hydrologic Synthesis


This paper describes a newly convened effort to design and execute synthesis studies in hydrology. We focus on an emerging view that human activities are affecting strongly the basic character of the water cycle, through a myriad of processes including water abstraction and flow diversion, land cover change, pollution, destruction of aquatic biodiversity, and climate change. A major scientific challenge is to understand how these changes manifest themselves and if they generate synergistic impacts across the different scales. Our primary synthesis goal is to quantify widespread alteration of hydrologic systems over local-to-regional domains focusing on the Northeast corridor of the United States over a 500-yr period (1600 to 2100). This is a region bearing sharp gradients in climate, land and water management and emblematic of pressures on water resources across the nation. This science agenda will be advanced through the activities of a consolidated Working Group (WG), which will study Regional Watersheds, Hydromorphology, and Continental Processes. The effort expands activities first consolidated under CUAHSI, and welcomes several new members who have led major CUAHSI, NSF, National Academy, regional, national, and international community activities. Our WG maintains cross-linked sub-groups on: Regional Earth System Models, Virtual Watershed Simulation, and Hydro-Indicators, organized through an IT framework to provide focus and unity of purpose. A project implementation design will be presented, including research, education, and outreach efforts.


Earth Sciences, Earth Systems Research Center

Publication Date


Journal Title

EOS, Transactions American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting, Supplement


American Geophysical Union Publications

Document Type

Conference Proceeding