Blog

Value of Data Provenance graph.

I frequently promote the concept of curated data provenance that is fully traceable to source. Most people quietly accept this as a generally worthwhile concept. However, most people also expect that active maintenance of data provenance should operate with an economy of scale. In other words, there is some practical limit beyond which further traceability is no longer worth the cost, time and effort. I can...

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Lego scene.

Hydrology is the science of sciences. There is no science that is as dependent on the other sciences and there is no science that is so fundamental to every other science. In fact, it is rarely the case that you would find a dedicated department of hydrology in any university, yet some aspects of hydrology are taught in almost every science department at every university. Water is...

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Two people in deep flood water.

The Governor of the State of South Carolina points out to reporters in every press conference that the floods are a one-in-1000 year event. In other words, the devastation from these floods is not our fault, this is an extremely improbable event and there is no way we could have been prepared for it. The cost of the flood is estimated at USD 1 billion and...

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A map of water stress by country by 2020.

The World Resources Institute used an ensemble of climate models and socioeconomic scenarios to rank future water stress globally. Notwithstanding the uncertainties inherent in their methodology, the results align with intuition; countries with a trend toward greater water demand than supply are setting themselves up for water stress. Tragically, many of the countries at the head of the list are already experiencing strife and turmoil...

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Graphic of Selected Significant Climate Change Anomalies and Events worldwide.

Extreme drought in many regions of the world is creating an opportunity for many stream hydrographers to record a historic event. A report from Poland shows ‘no end of secrets’ being revealed by rivers as they dry up. July 2015 was the hottest month in recorded history. The Clausius Clapeyron relation tells us that the moisture holding capacity of the atmosphere is non-linear with temperature. Over...

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Sustainability Venn diagram.

Much has been said about the water-energy-food nexus. The implication of many of these discussions is that we cannot disentangle policies for food and energy from each other because these sectors are inextricably linked by water. The nexus actually has many dimensions: you can add health, safety, economic activity, environmental sustainability, and social justice to the list of things that we endeavor to control that...

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Drought in California,

The droughts that are occurring in California, Puerto Rico, North Korea, Sao Paolo, and India are climatologically driven events, but the droughts of recent times have almost certainly been aggravated by water over-use, mis-use, and abuse. An attractive alternative to the scenarios that are currently playing out around the world is one in which monitoring is in place and provides: water supply statistics (so that planning...

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Water drop resource graphic.

Imagine a pioneer family living on a homestead with no running water or electricity. Hauling water from the creek and heating it up on the wood stove to fill the bath tub is hard work. You don’t use the water once and then start over — everyone in the family gets a turn to have a bath using the same water. In such close quarters the...

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Graphic depicting the value of hydrological information.

Water Monitoring is a Public Service. We are borrowing pristine water from the environment to serve our economy. We repay the environment with too little, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with degraded quality. How much water we can borrow? What are the terms of reference for repayment in order to maintain our credit into the future? The answers are yet to be...

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Two moons hanging over the earth.

The spacecraft New Horizons is on schedule to get a good view of Pluto on July 14th 2015. We should soon have some measurements that will help determine how much of the icy planet is made up of water. On board New Horizons are instruments like Ralph, Alice, Rex, and Lorri. The requirements for these devices are that they need to be small, lightweight, powerful and...

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