Category Archives: KLIV Research Briefs

Local flow regulation and irrigation raise global human water consumption and footprint.

Fernando Jaramillo & Georgia Destouni, Stockholm University

This global study investigated the effects of flow regulation and irrigation using hydroclimatic observations from 1901-2008 in 100 hydrological basins situated throughout the world, covering about 35% of the global land area (excluding Antarctica)

For these basins, the results show that both flow regulation and irrigation lead to an increase in relative evapotranspiration, while flow regulation leads also to a decrease in temporal runoff variability. Evapotranspiration changes due to flow regulation and irrigation were found to be greater than changes due to climate change.

Comparing the time periods 1901-1954 and 1955-2008, the increase in evapotranspiration due to flow regulation and irrigation was 3563 ± 979 km3/year. These new results increase a recent estimate of the global water footprint for humanity by at least 18%, to 10,688 ± 979 km3/year. Also, it implies that human water consumption has passed beyond a proposed planetary boundary.

These results show how local water use has global impacts. Furthermore, given their impacts, the effects of flow regulation and irrigation should be accounted for in Earth-system modelling.

Jaramillo F, Destouni G, 2015. Local flow regulation and irrigation raise global human water consumption and footprint. Science 350(6265), 1248, doi: 10.1126/science.aad1010.

The effect on ecosystems of increasing water temperature in northern European springs.

This study investigated changes in water temperature from 66 northern European cold-water springs during 1968-2012. The water temperature in most of these springs had increased by a statistically significant amount. Future estimates of the increase in water temperature in these springs due to climate change vary from 0.67 °C to 5.94 °C, depending on the climate scenario. High temperature increases are likely to change the ecology of these cold-water ecosystems, causing extinction of endemic specialist species and increases in the number of generalist species. It is possible that even just a small increase (of about 1°C) in water temperature in springs could cause extinction of endemic species and lead to regional-scale homogenization of ecosystems in northern European headwater streams.

Jyväsjärvi J, Marttila H, Rossi PM, Ala-Aho P, Olofsson B, Nisell J, Backman B, Ilmonen J, Virtanen R, Paasivirta L, Britschgi R, Kl ve B, Muotka T, 2015. Climate-induced warming imposes a threat to north European spring ecosystems. Global Change Biology 21, 4561-4569, doi: 10.1111/gcb.13067

Needs and means to advance science, policy and management understanding of the freshwater system

Principal investigator: Georgia Destouni, Stockholm University

Read the KLIV Synthesis Report: Needs and means to advance science, policy and management understanding of the freshwater system – A synthesis report

Summary

The whole KLIV group has during 2013 worked on a sub-project for developing a general conceptualization framework for environmental-climate change interactions and change propagation through the whole coupled human-natural system of water on land – this work has been led by Georgia Destouni and is planned to be finalized and submitted for publication in 2014. Continue reading Needs and means to advance science, policy and management understanding of the freshwater system

Linking Strategic Environmental Assessment and monitoring of the Arctic

Juan Azcárate & Berit Balfors (Royal Institute of Technology) and Arvid Bring & Georgia Destouni (Stockholm University)

Azcárate et al. (2013) published an article entitled Strategic environmental Assessment and monitoring: Arctic key gaps and bridging pathways. Given rapid change in the Arctic region, environmental assessment and monitoring is needed in order to facilitate decision making which responds to changes and impacts on Arctic societies and ecosystems. In their article, implementation of Arctic-relevant Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and monitoring is analysed and important implementation gaps are elucidated. Continue reading Linking Strategic Environmental Assessment and monitoring of the Arctic

The role of wetlands and other landscape features for large-scale nutrient retention

Andrew Quin, Fernando Jaramillo & Georgia Destouni, Stockholm University

Various ecosystems and other, physical features of a landscape contribute to a combined large-scale ecosystem service, attenuating the waterborne loading of nutrients and pollutants from various sources to downstream waters and ecosystems. Without this ecosystem service, nutrient and pollutant loading from the landscape would be greater and require more, and more costly, abatement measures to achieve the same level of water, environmental and ecosystem protection. This regulating ecosystem service is further closely linked to and may critically affect also other types of ecosystem services, such as the provisioning of clean water, the supporting of nutrient cycling and the cultural service of sustaining recreational water environments. The current values of the latter services depend all on the large-scale service of nutrient-pollutant regulation in the landscape.

Continue reading The role of wetlands and other landscape features for large-scale nutrient retention

Heavy metals in groundwater in a glassworks-industry region in Sweden

Principal investigator: Anna Augustsson, Linnaeus University

In relation to water quality changes, we have during 2013 initiated a new sub-project, led by Anna Augustsson at Linnaeus University, aimed specifically at detecting groundwater quality changes as basis for assessing associated environmental-health risk changes around former glassworks, located throughout Kalmar and Kronoberg counties, Sweden. Continue reading Heavy metals in groundwater in a glassworks-industry region in Sweden

Sources and geochemistry of groundwater in fractures

Principal investigator: Mats Åström, Linnaeus University

Long-term monitoring of groundwater in deep underground fractures in the crystalline bedrock of the Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory and, also, of surface-drilled boreholes in the nearby Laxemar area has revealed that this groundwater has multiple sources. These sources include: glacial-melt water; water from the Littorina Sea (ca. 7500-4000 BP); water from the Baltic Sea; modern meteoric water; and, a very old, deep-lying, saline water source.

Continue reading Sources and geochemistry of groundwater in fractures

Drinking water scarcity in coastal areas – prediction and decision support tools

Robert Earon and Bo Olofsson, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)

Aim of the project

The aim of this project is to improve understanding regarding groundwater in hard rock coastal regions. The study focuses on developing support tools for decision makers who are tasked with managing limited water supply resources in coastal regions and improving knowledge of the kinematic (effective) porosity values of hard rock. In hard rock terrains heterogeneity in the fracture network and geology limit the application of point-based hydrogeological tools. This study aims to develop methodologies which rely on continuous digital data (such as geological maps, topography, landuse) or simple field measurements of kinematic porosity which can complement existing data.
Continue reading Drinking water scarcity in coastal areas – prediction and decision support tools