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Needs and means to advance science, policy and management understanding of the freshwater system – A synthesis report
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography. (Hydrology, Water Resources and Permafrost)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9408-4425
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography. (Hydrology, Water Resources and Permafrost)
Linnaeus University, Sweden.
The Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.
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2015 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Fragmented and inconsistent understanding of the freshwater system limits our ability to achieve water security and sustainability under the human-driven changes occurring in the Anthropocene. To advance system-level understanding of freshwater, gaps and inconsistencies in knowledge, data, representations and links of processes and subsystems need to be identified and bridged under consideration of the freshwater system as a continuous whole. 

Based on such identification, a freshwater system conceptualization is developed in this report, which emphasizes four essential, yet often neglected system aspects:

i) Distinction of coastal divergent catchments.

ii) Four main zones (surface, subsurface, coastal, observation) of different types of freshwater change.

iii) Water pathways as system-coupling agents that link and partition water change among the four change zones.

iv) Direct interactions with the anthroposphere as integral system pathways across the change zones.

We explain and exemplify some key implications of these aspects, identifying in the process also distinct patterns of human-driven changes in large-scale water fluxes and nutrient loads.

The present conceptualization provides a basis for common inter- and trans-disciplinary understanding and systematic characterization of the freshwater system function and its changes, and of approaches to their modeling and monitoring. This can be viewed and used as a unifying checklist that can advance science, policy and management of freshwater and related environmental changes across various scales and world regions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm University, The Royal Institute of Technology and Linnaeus University, Sweden , 2015. , 35 p.
Keyword [en]
Freshwater system, Social-ecological system, Catchment, Human-driven change, Change propagation, Water pathways, Solute travel times, Water fluxes, Nutrient loads
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-117549OAI: diva2:813588
Climate-land-water changes and integrated water resource management in coastal regions (KLIV)
Swedish Research Council, 2009-3221Swedish Research Council Formas, 2014-43

The research synthesized and summarized in this report has been funded by Nova R&D (project KLIV) and Stockholm University’s Strategic Environmental Research Program Ekoklim, in addition to the research funders noted below, the Swedish Research Council (VR, project 2009-3221) and The Swedish Research Council Formas (project 2014-43).

Available from: 2015-05-23 Created: 2015-05-23 Last updated: 2015-05-27Bibliographically approved

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