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Socio-hydrology: Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Coupled Human-Water Systems

Sustainable water management in the era of the Anthropocene demands an understanding of the inter-relationship between humans and water resources. The new field of socio-hydrology was introduced to deal explicitly with long-term dynamics of bidirectional feedbacks between coupled human-water systems. Increasingly socio-hydrology needs to account for feedbacks between hydrological and social processes in order to explore tradeoffs and synergies in the system and provide scientific support for solving water resources problems. Within the prevailing environmental and resource milieu, human choices are mediated by societal values and preferences, which are in turn shaped by the long-term dynamics of the human-water system itself, and must therefore be treated as endogenous to the system. The values and preferences can vary along upstream-downstream, urban-rural, humid-arid, rich-poor, or technologic-green society gradients. Presence of the resulting heterogeneities in both hydrologic conditions and institutional and human behaviors may lead to inequities and conflicts in both human and environmental conditions. These may be alleviated or exacerbated through physical exchanges of water, trading of water intensive commodities, such as food (virtual water), and ecosystem services, and through infrastructure development or institutional change. These complexities have major implications for water management, governance, and policy at all scales. This special section in Water Resources Research includes papers on novel and innovative studies of the dynamics of human-water systems.

Disturbance hydrology: Assessing the immediate and long-term impacts of abrupt landscape changes on hydrologic processes and function

Last updated:
13 September 2017

Papers in this special issue deal with Earth systems affected by both anthropogenic and/or natural disturbances, which often drive complex response phenomena associated with non-linear, non-additive interaction and feedbacks between hydrologic, geomorphic, biogeochemical, and ecologic processes. Disturbance hydrology examines how abrupt changes such as wildfires, urban development, resource extraction, deforestation, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, landslides, and flooding directly trigger process-cascades by changing hydraulic properties, fluxes, network connectivity, and hydrologic states. The immediate impacts of disturbances in both natural and human influenced systems may be limited in both space and time but can induce far-reaching and long-term changes in water storage dynamics. Thus, improved process knowledge is fundamental for developing robust predictions of hydrological response to disturbances, particularly since global population growth and climate change are likely to increase both their frequency and magnitude in the future. This special issue includes papers on a variety of investigations focused on how disturbances and abrupt landscape change alter hydrologic functioning using a combination of field measurements, data analysis, and/or modeling techniques.

The Arctic: An AGU Joint Special Collection

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Last updated:
24 August 2017
The Arctic has become the focus of many new investigations and studies across a number of disciplines. In many cases, this research is integrating diverse new data sets, observations, and modeling, and making connections among and across the biosphere, oceans, atmospheres, space, and geophysical environments. These papers include historical and new research on the Arctic and represent the following AGU journals: Earth’s Future, Earth and Space Science, Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems (G-Cubed), Geophysical Research Letters, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, JAMES (Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems), JGR: Oceans, JGR: Atmospheres, JGR: Solid Earth, JGR: Space Physics, JGR: Biogeosciences, JGR: Earth’s Surface, Reviews of Geophysics, Space Weather, and Water Resources Research.

Celebrating Hydrologic Science in the "Science is Essential" Collection

Last updated:
13 July 2017
Water Resources Research published nine commentaries in the AGU “Science is Essential” collection. The goal of these papers is to celebrate the advances in hydrologic science, to show how hydrologic science is essential for society, and to illustrate how hydrologic science has influenced policies.

2015 Editors' Choice Awards

30 June 2016
The Editors of Water Resources Research have chosen the following papers to receive the annual Editors’ Choice Award, indicating extremely high quality and significance. These papers were published in 2015, and the authors were awarded in 2016.

Debates—Stochastic subsurface hydrology from theory to practice

11 January 2017
Beginning in the 1970s, the field of stochastic subsurface hydrology has been an active field of research, with over 3500 journal publications, of which over 850 have appeared in Water Resources Research. We are fortunate to have insightful contributions from four groups of distinguished authors who discuss the reasons why the advanced research framework established in stochastic subsurface hydrology has not impacted the practice of groundwater flow and transport modeling and design significantly. There is reasonable consensus that a community effort aimed at developing “toolboxes” for applications of stochastic methods will make them more accessible and encourage practical applications.

50th Anniversary of Water Resources Research

Last updated:
25 November 2015
This year represents the 50th anniversary of Water Resources Research, whose first issue was published in March 1965. As one celebration of this milestone the Editorial Board organized this Special Section, which looks back on 50 years of research activity and provides a perspective for future research focusing on water systems for the development and benefit of society. Contributing authors were asked to provide an overview on the history, development, and future of hydrological sciences, by focusing on scientific challenges in water sustainability, the important issues at the interface of water science and society, and the new technologies of monitoring and assessment.

A PDF of the Table of Contents and introductory articles can be downloaded here.

Debates-- Perspectives on Socio-Hydrology

7 May 2015
“Debates on Water Resources” is a new editorial initiative in WRR to stimulate discussion and awareness on relevant and timely research issues on water resources and related disciplines.

Advancing Computational Methods In Hydrology

1 February 2014
The past decade has seen a tremendous explosion in computation resources and power, data availability of different kinds and vastly greater amounts, model complexity, and methods for assimilating data into models--the fields of hydrology and water resources have been significantly impacted by these developments. This special section includes papers on the cutting edge of computational developments as they are applied to hydrology and water resources related investigations. Specific topics include: learning from data (inference), including methods and metrics for characterizing the information content in data, statistical inference and hypothesis testing (including establishing model; data consistency, rigorous treatment of data measurement errors, and data supported model complexity); characterizing best possible model performance (including bench-marking, and characterizing and quantifying aleatory uncertainty);  diagnosing and correcting model structural inadequacies (including characterizing, quantifying and resolving epistemic uncertainty); improving hydrological understanding via computationally intensive modeling; learning from computational experiments involving high (even hyper) resolution models at various spatio-temporal scales (for various applications); learning from multi-component models coupled across disciplines and across scales; learning via innovative combined use of simple and complex models; and innovative methods for reducing computational time and expense.