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      Human–water interface in hydrological modelling: current status and future directions

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          Abstract

          Over recent decades, the global population has been rapidly increasing and human activities have altered terrestrial water fluxes to an unprecedented extent. The phenomenal growth of the human footprint has significantly modified hydrological processes in various ways (e.g. irrigation, artificial dams, and water diversion) and at various scales (from a watershed to the globe). During the early 1990s, awareness of the potential for increased water scarcity led to the first detailed global water resource assessments. Shortly thereafter, in order to analyse the human perturbation on terrestrial water resources, the first generation of large-scale hydrological models (LHMs) was produced. However, at this early stage few models considered the interaction between terrestrial water fluxes and human activities, including water use and reservoir regulation, and even fewer models distinguished water use from surface water and groundwater resources. Since the early 2000s, a growing number of LHMs have incorporated human impacts on the hydrological cycle, yet the representation of human activities in hydrological models remains challenging. In this paper we provide a synthesis of progress in the development and application of human impact modelling in LHMs. We highlight a number of key challenges and discuss possible improvements in order to better represent the human–water interface in hydrological models.

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          Most cited references 244

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          The TRMM Multisatellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA): Quasi-Global, Multiyear, Combined-Sensor Precipitation Estimates at Fine Scales

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            Global threats to human water security and river biodiversity.

            Protecting the world's freshwater resources requires diagnosing threats over a broad range of scales, from global to local. Here we present the first worldwide synthesis to jointly consider human and biodiversity perspectives on water security using a spatial framework that quantifies multiple stressors and accounts for downstream impacts. We find that nearly 80% of the world's population is exposed to high levels of threat to water security. Massive investment in water technology enables rich nations to offset high stressor levels without remedying their underlying causes, whereas less wealthy nations remain vulnerable. A similar lack of precautionary investment jeopardizes biodiversity, with habitats associated with 65% of continental discharge classified as moderately to highly threatened. The cumulative threat framework offers a tool for prioritizing policy and management responses to this crisis, and underscores the necessity of limiting threats at their source instead of through costly remediation of symptoms in order to assure global water security for both humans and freshwater biodiversity.
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              Regions of strong coupling between soil moisture and precipitation.

               Cheng Lu,  ,  Ratko Vasic (2004)
              Previous estimates of land-atmosphere interaction (the impact of soil moisture on precipitation) have been limited by a lack of observational data and by the model dependence of computational estimates. To counter the second limitation, a dozen climate-modeling groups have recently performed the same highly controlled numerical experiment as part of a coordinated comparison project. This allows a multimodel estimation of the regions on Earth where precipitation is affected by soil moisture anomalies during Northern Hemisphere summer. Potential benefits of this estimation may include improved seasonal rainfall forecasts.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Hydrology and Earth System Sciences
                Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci.
                Copernicus GmbH
                1607-7938
                2017
                August 23 2017
                : 21
                : 8
                : 4169-4193
                10.5194/hess-21-4169-2017
                © 2017

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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