Groundwater depletion during drought threatens future water security of the Colorado River basin

Today, the online edition of Spiegel came up with an article on the worsening drought in the Western U.S. The post is related to a current paper of Jay Famiglietti’s group at UCI. His group is popular for using GRACE data in the context of basin-scale hydrological analyses.

Here is another recent paper, applying GRACE data for groundwater depletion estimates in the Middle East. However, such estimates are connected with partly tremendous uncertainties, beeing a result of the spaceborne measuring principle. Keep in mind, GRACE was not intendend for deriving water budget estimates but delivering a sound assessment of the Earth’s gravity field.

A profound insight in the application of GRACE data for hydrological purposes is provided by the doctoral thesis of Benjamin Fersch from the Regional Climate and Hydrology Group at IMK-IFU Garmisch.

Last not least, German researchers are very active in the field of spaceborne evaluation of mass transport phenomena in the Earth System, which is reflected by a current priority programme of the German Research Foundation.


Tactic EU project

TACTIC (Tools, methods And training for CommuniTIes and Society to better prepare for a Crisis) is a two year project that started in May 2014 and will end in June 2016. The overall aim of the TACTIC project is to increase preparedness to large-scale and cross-border disasters amongst communities and societies in Europe. To achieve this, TACTIC will consider studies on risk perception and preparedness (including good practices and preparedness programmes) in order to develop a participatory community preparedness audit enabling communities to assess, impacts in a multi-hazard context, their motivations and capacities to prepare for large-scale and/or cross-border disasters. This forms the basis for developing context-sensitive education and training strategies and practices that are embedded in an overarching long-term learning framework (including evaluation procedures) for increasing the overall prepares of communities and societies across Europe. Rather than taking a top-down approach to preparedness, TACTIC will pursue a collaborative project strategy by including different user and stakeholder groups in the development, testing and validation of tools and materials throughout the process of the project by conducting four case studies focusing on terrorism, floods, pandemics and earthquakes.

Seven partners from five European countries work together on TACTIC:

  • Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research GmbH
  • Trilateral Research Trilateral Research & Consulting LLP
  • Northumbria University
  • European Dynamics SA
  • Polish Institute of Meteorology and Water Management
  • Middle East Technical University
  • Saxon State Office for the Environment, Agriculture and Geology

Results of online survey on flood early warning needs

Some time ago, I reported on an online survey I was conducting in order to find out the needs of potential users of flood early warning products disseminated by the Saxon Flood Centre. The background is that the Free State of Saxony wants to improve flood early warning practices for small-scale, fast-responding catchments. Besides the pure scientific feasibility, it is equally important to ask for end-users needs and opinions with regards to an envisaged and appropriate warning concept.

The results of the online survey have been compiled to a paper which was submitted to the Hydrologie und Wasserbewirtschaftung Journal and which is under review right now. Notwithstanding this, I want to share already the interesting outcomes of this survey, regardless how the journal review process will go on. However, if you have any suggestions for improvements, I would be glad to hear from you.