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Global Water, the Anthropocene and the Transformation of a Science

February 23, 2016, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Location Center for Environmental and Life Sciences - 120
Posted InCollege of Science and Mathematics
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About Dr. Charles Vorosmarty

Dr. Vörösmarty's research centers on humanUenvironment interactions. He has led several teams that have executed interdisciplinary studies using earth system models depicting the Northeastern U.S., developed and analyzed databases of reservoir construction worldwide and how they generate downstream coastal zone risks, and assessed global threats to human water security and aquatic biodiversity. In addition to his dedication to mentoring CUNY students, Dr. Vörösmarty routinely provides scientific guidance to a variety of U.S. and international water consortia. He is a founding member and longUterm coUChair of the Global Water System Project. More recently he was appointed Scientific Co-Chair of the Arctic Futures Initiative of the Arctic Council and International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis. He has served on a broad array of national panels, including the U.S. Artic Research Commission (appointed by Presidents Bush and Obama), the NASA Earth Science Subcommidee, the National Research Council Commidee on Hydrologic Science as Chair, a member of the NRC Review Commidee on the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and the National Science Foundation’s Arctic System Science Program Commidee. 

About the Presentation

A large body of evidence collected over local domains shows that human interactions with the  hydrologic cycle are characterized by mismanagement and ecosystem impairment. The countless  human decisions and resulting actions that seek to optimize water security for humans at the local  scale today accumulate as global syndromes of increasing environmental stress. A common feature  of this globalization of water problems is the legacy of poor governance, which is deeply embedded  into the fabric of contemporary hydrologic and biogeochemical cycles. This paper briefly explores  the evolution of global-scale studies of the hydrologic cycle and the pivotal role that humans play in  shaping modern water systems. We review key concepts that emerged over the last one-to-two  decades that have motivated acceptance of the legitimacy of a fully global-scale perspective.  Advances in diagnosing the broad-scale syndromes today set the stage for a next phase of study, crafting science-based solutions for sustainable water development as part of the broader global Rio +20 agenda.