You are here: Home News In Short Archive 2011 Researchers put new spin on world´s water cycle

Researchers put new spin on world´s water cycle

10/13/2011 - The final report of the Water and Global Change programme (WATCH), an extensive analysis of the world’s water resources, is made available today, significantly expanding the understanding of climate change and land use impacts on the global hydrological cycle. A total of 25 institutions from 14 European countries participated in this project, including scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
Researchers put new spin on world´s water cycle

Modelled river flow in 18 large river basins (Picture: CEH)

The programme´s results provide the first assessment of the global hydrological cycle on a daily time-frame for the past (20th century) and future (21st century), as well as a new global analysis of water scarcity. Findings from the four-year programme, including new data sets, maps, new methods and models, are expected to provide a lasting legacy which will be used to analyse, predict and manage water resources, floods and droughts worldwide. Among other conclusions, the project identified the potential vulnerability of water supply in sub-tropical catchments where changes in climate, land use and increasing consumption combine to produce future decreases in available water by up to 30%.

PIK scientist Dieter Gerten, head of research group “The Biosphere in 2100” of PIK´s research domain “Climate Impacts and Vulnerabilities” contributed to the outcomes together with colleagues of the Potsdam Institute and a team of 100 climate scientists and hydrological researchers from all over Europe. The project was coordinated by UK’s Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.

In addition to scientific outputs and release of data, an outreach portal and educational website have been created to allow researchers, policymakers and the general public to learn more about the global water cycle. Rainfall, soil moisture, and more are presented in 3D maps, with 18 of the world’s biggest river systems covered in detail. - the project website providing information on partners, organisation and publications - the online version of the final report with video and audio supplements from those involved - an introduction to the global water cycle and its links with climate change

Document Actions

Contact PR

For further information please contact the PIK press office:
Phone: +49 331 288 25 07