Tom Gleeson


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Rethinking groundwater age
Grant Ferguson, Mark O. Cuthbert, K. M. Befus, Tom Gleeson, Jennifer C. McIntosh
Nature Geoscience, Volume 13, Issue 9

It is commonly thought that old groundwater cannot be pumped sustainably, and that recently recharged groundwater is inherently sustainable. We argue that both old and young groundwaters can be used in physically sustainable or unsustainable ways.

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Global Groundwater Sustainability, Resources, and Systems in the Anthropocene
Tom Gleeson, Mark O. Cuthbert, Grant Ferguson, Debra Perrone
Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Volume 48, Issue 1

Groundwater is a crucial resource for current and future generations, but it is not being sustainably used in many parts of the world. The objective of this review is to provide a clear portrait of global-scale groundwater sustainability, systems, and resources in the Anthropocene to inspire a pivot toward more sustainable pathways of groundwater use. We examine groundwater from three different but related perspectives of sustainability science, natural resource governance and management, and Earth System science. An Earth System approach highlights the connections between groundwater and the other parts of the system and how these connections are impacting, or are impacted by, groundwater pumping. Groundwater is the largest store of unfrozen freshwater on Earth and is heterogeneously connected to many Earth System processes on different timescales. We propose a definition of groundwater sustainability that has a direct link with observable data, governance, and management as well as the crucial functions and services of groundwater. ▪ Groundwater is depleted or contaminated in some regions; it is ubiquitously distributed, which, importantly, makes it broadly accessible but also slow and invisible and therefore challenging to govern and manage. ▪ Regional differences in priorities, hydrology, politics, culture, and economic contexts mean that different governance and management tools are important, but a global perspective can support higher level international policies in an increasingly globalized world that require broader analysis of interconnections and knowledge transfer between regions. ▪ A coherent, overarching framework of groundwater sustainability is more important for groundwater governance and management than the concepts of safe yield, renewability, depletion, or stress.

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Illuminating water cycle modifications and Earth system resilience in the Anthropocene
Tom Gleeson, Lan Wang‐Erlandsson, Miina Porkka, Samuel C. Zipper, Fernando Jaramillo, Dieter Gerten, Ingo Fetzer, Sarah Cornell, Luigi Piemontese, Line Gordon, Johan Rockström, Taikan Oki, Murugesu Sivapalan, Yoshihide Wada, Kate A. Brauman, Martina Flörke, M. F. Bierkens, Bernhard Lehner, Patrick Keys, Matti Kummu, Thorsten Wagener, Simon Dadson, Tara J. Troy, Will Steffen, Malin Falkenmark, J. S. Famiglietti
Water Resources Research, Volume 56, Issue 4

Fresh water – the bloodstream of the biosphere – is at the centre of the planetary drama of the Anthropocene. Water fluxes and stores regulate the Earth’s climate and are essential for thriving aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, as well as water, food and energy security. But the water cycle is also being modified by humans at an unprecedented scale and rate. A holistic understanding of freshwater’s role for Earth System resilience and the detection and monitoring of anthropogenic water cycle modifications across scales is urgent, yet existing methods and frameworks are not well suited for this. In this paper we highlight four core Earth System functions of water (hydroclimatic regulation, hydroecological regulation, storage, and transport) and key related processes. Building on systems and resilience theory, we review the evidence of regional-scale regime shifts and disruptions of the Earth System functions of water. We then propose a framework for detecting, monitoring, and establishing safe limits to water cycle modifications, and identify four possible spatially explicit methods for their quantification. In sum, this paper presents an ambitious scientific and policy Grand Challenge that could substantially improve our understanding of the role of water in the Earth System and cross-scale management of water cycle modifications that would be a complementary approach to existing water management tools.

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The Water Planetary Boundary: Interrogation and Revision
Tom Gleeson, Lan Wang‐Erlandsson, Samuel C. Zipper, Miina Porkka, Fernando Jaramillo, Dieter Gerten, Ingo Fetzer, Sarah Cornell, Luigi Piemontese, Line Gordon, Johan Rockström, Taikan Oki, Murugesu Sivapalan, Yoshihide Wada, Kate A. Brauman, Martina Flörke, M. F. Bierkens, Bernhard Lehner, Patrick Keys, Matti Kummu, Thorsten Wagener, Simon Dadson, Tara J. Troy, Will Steffen, Malin Falkenmark, J. S. Famiglietti
One Earth, Volume 2, Issue 3

The planetary boundaries framework proposes quantified guardrails to human modification of global environmental processes that regulate the stability of the planet and has been considered in sustainability science, governance, and corporate management. However, the planetary boundary for human freshwater use has been critiqued as a singular measure that does not reflect all types of human interference with the complex global water cycle and Earth System. We suggest that the water planetary boundary will be more scientifically robust and more useful in decision-making frameworks if it is redesigned to consider more specifically how climate and living ecosystems respond to changes in the different forms of water on Earth: atmospheric water, frozen water, groundwater, soil moisture, and surface water. This paper provides an ambitious scientific road map to define a new water planetary boundary consisting of sub-boundaries that account for a variety of changes to the water cycle.


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Twenty-three unsolved problems in hydrology (UPH) – a community perspective
Günter Blöschl, M. F. Bierkens, António Chambel, Christophe Cudennec, Georgia Destouni, Aldo Fiori, J. W. Kirchner, Jeffrey J. McDonnell, H. H. G. Savenije, Murugesu Sivapalan, Christine Stumpp, Elena Toth, Elena Volpi, Gemma Carr, Claire Lupton, José Luis Salinas, Borbála Széles, Alberto Viglione, Hafzullah Aksoy, Scott T. Allen, Anam Amin, Vazken Andréassian, Berit Arheimer, Santosh Aryal, Victor R. Baker, Earl Bardsley, Marlies Barendrecht, Alena Bartošová, Okke Batelaan, Wouter Berghuijs, Keith Beven, Theresa Blume, Thom Bogaard, Pablo Borges de Amorim, Michael E. Böttcher, Gilles Boulet, Korbinian Breinl, Mitja Brilly, Luca Brocca, Wouter Buytaert, Attilio Castellarin, Andrea Castelletti, Xiaohong Chen, Yangbo Chen, Yuanfang Chen, Peter Chifflard, Pierluigi Claps, Martyn P. Clark, Adrian L. Collins, Barry Croke, Annette Dathe, Paula Cunha David, Felipe P. J. de Barros, Gerrit de Rooij, Giuliano Di Baldassarre, Jessica M. Driscoll, Doris Duethmann, Ravindra Dwivedi, Ebru Eriş, William Farmer, James Feiccabrino, Grant Ferguson, Ennio Ferrari, Stefano Ferraris, Benjamin Fersch, David C. Finger, Laura Foglia, Keirnan Fowler, Б. И. Гарцман, Simon Gascoin, Éric Gaumé, Alexander Gelfan, Josie Geris, Shervan Gharari, Tom Gleeson, Miriam Glendell, Alena Gonzalez Bevacqua, M. P. González‐Dugo, Salvatore Grimaldi, A.B. Gupta, Björn Guse, Dawei Han, David M. Hannah, A. A. Harpold, Stefan Haun, Kate Heal, Kay Helfricht, Mathew Herrnegger, Matthew R. Hipsey, Hana Hlaváčiková, Clara Hohmann, Ladislav Holko, C. Hopkinson, Markus Hrachowitz, Tissa H. Illangasekare, Azhar Inam, Camyla Innocente, Erkan Istanbulluoglu, Ben Jarihani, Zahra Kalantari, Andis Kalvāns, Sonu Khanal, Sina Khatami, Jens Kiesel, M. J. Kirkby, Wouter Knoben, Krzysztof Kochanek, Silvia Kohnová, Alla Kolechkina, Stefan Krause, David K. Kreamer, Heidi Kreibich, Harald Kunstmann, Holger Lange, Margarida L. R. Liberato, Eric Lindquist, Timothy E. Link, Junguo Liu, Daniel P. Loucks, Charles H. Luce, Gil Mahé, Olga Makarieva, Julien Malard, Shamshagul Mashtayeva, Shreedhar Maskey, Josep Mas-Plá, Maria Mavrova-Guirguinova, Maurizio Mazzoleni, Sebastian H. Mernild, Bruce Misstear, Alberto Montanari, Hannes Müller-Thomy, Alireza Nabizadeh, Fernando Nardi, Christopher M. U. Neale, Nataliia Nesterova, Bakhram Nurtaev, V.O. Odongo, Subhabrata Panda, Saket Pande, Zhonghe Pang, Georgia Papacharalampous, Charles Perrin, Laurent Pfister, Rafael Pimentel, María José Polo, David Post, Cristina Prieto, Maria‐Helena Ramos, Maik Renner, José Eduardo Reynolds, Elena Ridolfi, Riccardo Rigon, Mònica Riva, David E. Robertson, Renzo Rosso, Tirthankar Roy, João Henrique Macedo Sá, Gianfausto Salvadori, Melody Sandells, Bettina Schaefli, Andreas Schumann, Anna Scolobig, Jan Seibert, Éric Servat, Mojtaba Shafiei, Ashish Sharma, Moussa Sidibé, Roy C. Sidle, Thomas Skaugen, Hugh G. Smith, Sabine M. Spiessl, Lina Stein, Ingelin Steinsland, Ulrich Strasser, Bob Su, Ján Szolgay, David G. Tarboton, Flavia Tauro, Guillaume Thirel, Fuqiang Tian, Rui Tong, Kamshat Tussupova, Hristos Tyralis, R. Uijlenhoet, Rens van Beek, Ruud J. van der Ent, Martine van der Ploeg, Anne F. Van Loon, Ilja van Meerveld, Ronald van Nooijen, Pieter van Oel, Jean‐Philippe Vidal, Jana von Freyberg, Sergiy Vorogushyn, Przemysław Wachniew, Andrew J. Wade, Philip J. Ward, Ida Westerberg, Christopher White, Eric F. Wood, Ross Woods, Zongxue Xu, Koray K. Yılmaz, Yongqiang Zhang
Hydrological Sciences Journal, Volume 64, Issue 10

This paper is the outcome of a community initiative to identify major unsolved scientific problems in hydrology motivated by a need for stronger harmonisation of research efforts. The procedure involved a public consultation through online media, followed by two workshops through which a large number of potential science questions were collated, prioritised, and synthesised. In spite of the diversity of the participants (230 scientists in total), the process revealed much about community priorities and the state of our science: a preference for continuity in research questions rather than radical departures or redirections from past and current work. Questions remain focused on the process-based understanding of hydrological variability and causality at all space and time scales. Increased attention to environmental change drives a new emphasis on understanding how change propagates across interfaces within the hydrological system and across disciplinary boundaries. In particular, the expansion of the human footprint raises a new set of questions related to human interactions with nature and water cycle feedbacks in the context of complex water management problems. We hope that this reflection and synthesis of the 23 unsolved problems in hydrology will help guide research efforts for some years to come.