Changing Water Cycle
Changes in the hydrological cycle as a consequence of climate and land use drivers are expected to play a central role in governing a vast range of environmental impacts. At the same time, predictions of water-related variables show very high uncertainty: for example, as shown in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change fourth assessment report (IPCC AR4).
The Changing Water Cycle programme will develop an integrated, quantitative understanding of the changes taking place in the global water cycle, involving all components of the earth system, improving predictions for the next few decades of regional precipitation, evapotranspiration, soil moisture, hydrological storage and fluxes.
The programme will work to understand how local to regional scale hydrological and biogeochemical processes are responding and will respond to changing climate and land use, together with their consequent impacts on the sustainable use of soil and water and investigate the consequences of the changing water cycle for water-related natural hazards, including floods and droughts, improving prediction and mitigation of these hazards.
This programme will address the urgent needs to understand the changes taking place now; predict changes that will take place over the next few decades; and, through the Living With Environmental Change programme (LWEC), work with partners to build resilience, mitigate problems, and develop adaptive solutions.
It will have global dimensions and dimensions that focus specifically on the UK/European region and certain overseas regions. The location of the overseas regions will be determined in consultation with potential partners.