- Advances and visions in large-scale hydrological modelling : proceedings of the 11th Workshop on Large-scale Hydrological Modelling (2008)
- Groundwater use for irrigation - a global inventory (2010)
- Irrigation is the most important water use sector accounting for about 70% of the global freshwater withdrawals and 90% of consumptive water uses. While the extent of irrigation and related water uses are reported in statistical databases or estimated by model simulations, information on the source of irrigation water is scarce and very scattered. Here we present a new global inventory on the extent of areas irrigated with groundwater, surface water or non-conventional sources, and we determine the related consumptive water uses. The inventory provides data for 15 038 national and sub-national administrative units. Irrigated area was provided by census-based statistics from international and national organizations. A global model was then applied to simulate consumptive water uses for irrigation by water source. Globally, area equipped for irrigation is currently about 301 million ha of which 38% are equipped for irrigation with groundwater. Total consumptive groundwater use for irrigation is estimated as 545 km3 yr−1, or 43% of the total consumptive irrigation water use of 1277 km3 yr−1. The countries with the largest extent of areas equipped for irrigation with groundwater, in absolute terms, are India (39 million ha), China (19 million ha) and the USA (17 million ha). Groundwater use in irrigation is increasing both in absolute terms and in percentage of total irrigation, leading in places to concentrations of users exploiting groundwater storage at rates above groundwater recharge. Despite the uncertainties associated with statistical data available to track patterns and growth of groundwater use for irrigation, the inventory presented here is a major step towards a more informed assessment of agricultural water use and its consequences for the global water cycle.
- Groundwater use for irrigation - a global inventory (2010)
- Irrigation is the most important water use sector accounting for about 70% of the global freshwater withdrawals and 90% of consumptive water uses. While the extent of irrigation and related water uses are reported in statistical databases or estimated by model simulations, information on the source of irrigation water is scarce and very scattered. Here we present a new global inventory on the extent of areas irrigated with groundwater, surface water or non-conventional sources, and we determine the related consumptive water uses. The inventory provides data for 15 038 national and sub-national administrative units. Irrigated area was provided by census-based statistics from international and national organizations. A global model was then applied to simulate consumptive water uses for irrigation by water source. Globally, area equipped for irrigation is currently about 301 million ha of which 38% are equipped for irrigation with groundwater. Total consumptive groundwater use for irrigation is estimated as 545 km3 yr−1, or 43% of the total consumptive irrigation water use of 1 277 km3 yr−1. The countries with the largest extent of areas equipped for irrigation with groundwater, in absolute terms, are India (39 million ha), China (19 million ha) and the United States of America (17 million ha). Groundwater use in irrigation is increasing both in absolute terms and in percentage of total irrigation, leading in places to concentrations of users exploiting groundwater storage at rates above groundwater recharge. Despite the uncertainties associated with statistical data available to track patterns and growth of groundwater use for irrigation, the inventory presented here is a major step towards a more informed assessment of agricultural water use and its consequences for the global water cycle.
- Comparing projections of future changes in runoff and water resources from hydrological and ecosystem models in ISI-MIP (2013)
- Projections of future changes in runoff can have important implications for water resources and flooding. In this study, runoff projections from ISI-MIP (Inter-sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project) simulations forced with HadGEM2-ES bias-corrected climate data under the Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 have been analysed. Projections of change from the baseline period (1981–2010) to the future (2070–2099) from a number of different ecosystems and hydrological models were studied. The differences between projections from the two types of model were looked at globally and regionally. Typically, across different regions the ecosystem models tended to project larger increases and smaller decreases in runoff than the hydrological models. However, the differences varied both regionally and seasonally. Sensitivity experiments were also used to investigate the contributions of varying CO2 and allowing vegetation distribution to evolve on projected changes in runoff. In two out of four models which had data available from CO2 sensitivity experiments, allowing CO2 to vary was found to increase runoff more than keeping CO2 constant, while in two models runoff decreased. This suggests more uncertainty in runoff responses to elevated CO2 than previously considered. As CO2 effects on evapotranspiration via stomatal conductance and leaf-area index are more commonly included in ecosystems models than in hydrological models, this may partially explain some of the difference between model types. Keeping the vegetation distribution static in JULES runs had much less effect on runoff projections than varying CO2, but this may be more pronounced if looked at over a longer timescale as vegetation changes may take longer to reach a new state.
- Global estimation of monthly irrigated and rainfed crop areas on a 5 arc-minute grid (2011)
- Agriculture of crops provides more than 85% of the energy in human diet, while also securing income of more than 2.6 billion people. To investigate past, present and future changes in the domain of food security, water resources and water use, nutrient cycles, and land management it is required to know the agricultural land use, in particular which crop grows where and when. The current global land use or land cover data sets are based on remote sensing and agricultural census statistics. In general, these only contain one or very few classes of agricultural land use. When crop-specific areas are given, no distinction of irrigated and rainfed areas is made, whereas it is necessary to distinguish rainfed and irrigated crops, because crop productivity and water use differ significantly between them. To support global-scale assessments that are sensitive to agricultural land use, the global data set of Monthly Irrigated and Rainfed Crop Areas around the year 2000 (MIRCA2000) was developed by the author. With a spatial resolution of 5 arc-minutes (approximately 9.2 km at the equator), MIRCA2000 provides for the first time, spatially explicit irrigated and rainfed crop areas separately for each of the 26 crop classes for each month of the year, and includes multi-cropping. The data set covers all major food crops as well as cotton, while the remaining crops are grouped into three categories (perennial, annual and fodder grasses). Also for the first time, crop calendars on national or sub-national level were consistently linked to annual values of harvested area at the 5 arc-minutes grid cell level, such that monthly growing areas could be computed that are representative for the time period 1998 to 2002. The downscaling algorithm maximizes the consistency to the grid-based input data of cropland extent [Ramankutty et al., 2008], crop-specific total annual harvested area [Monfreda et al., 2008], and area equipped for irrigation [Siebert et al., 2007]. In addition to the methodology, this dissertation describes differences to other datasets and standard scaling methods, as well as some applications. For quality assessment independent datasets and newly developed quality parameters are used, and scale effects are discussed. Supplementary Appendices document crop calendars for irrigated and rainfed crops for each of the 402 spatial units (Appendix I), data sources of harvested area and of cropping periods for irrigated crops, country by country (Appendix K), as well as data quality parameters (Appendix L, including spreadsheet files).
- Sensitivity of simulated global-scale freshwater fluxes and storages to input data, hydrological model structure, human water use and calibration (2014)
- Global-scale assessments of freshwater fluxes and storages by hydrological models under historic climate conditions are subject to a variety of uncertainties. Using the global hydrological model WaterGAP 2.2, we investigated the sensitivity of simulated freshwater fluxes and water storage variations to five major sources of uncertainty: climate forcing, land cover input, model structure, consideration of human water use and calibration (or no calibration). In a modelling experiment, five variants of the standard version of WaterGAP 2.2 were generated that differed from the standard version only regarding the investigated source of uncertainty. Sensitivity was analyzed by comparing water fluxes and water storage variations computed by the variants to those of the standard version, considering both global averages and grid cell values for the time period 1971–2000. The basin-specific calibration approach for WaterGAP, which forces simulated mean annual river discharge to be equal to observed values at 1319 gauging stations (representing 54% of global land area except Antarctica and Greenland), has the highest effect on modelled water fluxes and leads to the best fit of modelled to observed monthly and seasonal river discharge. Alternative state-of-the-art climate forcings rank second regarding the impact on grid cell specific fluxes and water storage variations, and their impact is ubiquitous and stronger than that of alternative land cover inputs. The diverse model refinements during the last decade lead to an improved fit to observed discharge, and affect globally averaged fluxes and storage values (the latter mainly due to modelling of groundwater depletion) but only affect a relatively small number of grid cells. Considering human water use is important for the global water storage trend (in particular in the groundwater compartment) but impacts on water fluxes are rather local and only important where water use is high. The best fit to observed time series of monthly river discharge (Nash–Sutcliffe criterion) or discharge seasonality is obtained with the standard WaterGAP 2.2 model version which is calibrated and driven by a sequence of two time series of daily observation-based climate forcings, WFD/WFDEI. Discharge computed by a calibrated model version using monthly CRU 3.2 and GPCC v6 climate input reduced the fit to observed discharge for most stations. Taking into account the investigated uncertainties of climate and land cover data, we estimate that the global 1971–2000 discharge into oceans and inland sinks is between 40 000 and 42 000 km3 yr−1. The range is mainly due differences in precipitation data that affect discharge in uncalibrated river basins. Actual evapotranspiration, with approximately 70 000 km3 yr−1, is rather unaffected by climate and land cover in global sum but differs spatially. Human water use is calculated to reduce river discharge by approximately 1000 km3 yr−1. Thus, global renewable water resources are estimated to range between 41 000 and 43 000 km3 yr−1. The climate data sets WFD (available until 2001) and WFDEI (starting in 1979) were found to be inconsistent with respect to short wave radiation data, resulting in strongly different potential evapotranspiration. Global assessments of freshwater fluxes and storages would therefore benefit from the development of a global data set of consistent daily climate forcing from 1900 to current.
- Global dataset of monthly growing areas of 26 irrigated crops : version 1.0 (2008)
- A data set of monthly growing areas of 26 irrigated crops (MGAG-I) and related crop calendars (CC-I) was compiled for 402 spatial entities. The selection of the crops consisted of all major food crops including regionally important ones (wheat, rice, maize, barley, rye, millet, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower, potatoes, cassava, sugar cane, sugar beets, oil palm, rapeseed/canola, groundnuts/peanuts, pulses, citrus, date palm, grapes/vine, cocoa, coffee), major water-consuming crops (cotton), and unspecified other crops (other perennial crops, other annual crops, managed grassland). The data set refers to the time period 1998-2002 and has a spatial resolution of 5 arc minutes by 5 arc minutes which is 8 km by 8 km at the equator. This is the first time that a data set of cell-specific irrigated growing areas of irrigated crops with this spatial resolution was created. The data set is consistent to the irrigated area and water use statistics of the AQUASTAT programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) (http://www.fao.org/ag/agl/aglw/aquastat/main/index.stm) and the Global Map of Irrigation Areas (GMIA) (http://www.fao.org/ag/agl/aglw/aquastat/irrigationmap/index.stm). At the cell-level it was tried to maximise consistency to the cropland extent and cropland harvested area from the Department of Geography and Earth System Science Program of the McGill University at Montreal, Quebec, Canada and the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, USA (http://www.geog.mcgill.ca/~nramankutty/ Datasets/Datasets.html and http://geomatics.geog.mcgill.ca/~navin/pub/Data/175crops2000/). The consistency between the grid product and the input data was quantified. MGAG-I and CC-I are fully consistent to each other on entity level. For input data other than CC-I, the consistency of MGAG-I on cell level was calculated. The consistency of MGAG-I with respect to the area equipped for irrigation (AEI) of GMIA and to the cropland extent of SAGE was characterised by the sum of the cell-specific maximum difference between the MGAG-I monthly total irrigated area and the reference area when the latter was exceeded in the grid cell. The consistency of the harvested area contained in MGAG-I with respect to SAGE harvested area was characterised by the crop-specific sum of the cell-specific difference between MGAG-I harvested area and the SAGE harvested area when the latter was exceeded in the grid cell. In all three cases, the sums are the excess areas that should not have been distributed under the assumption that the input data were correct. Globally, this cell-level excess of MGAG-I as compared to AEI is 331,304 ha or only about 0.12 % of the global AEI of 278.9 Mha found in the original grid. The respective cell-level excess of MGAG-I as compared to the SAGE cropland extent is 32.2 Mha, corresponding to about 2.2 % of the total cropland area. The respective cell-level excess of MGAG-I as compared to the SAGE harvested area is 27 % of the irrigated harvested area, or 11.5 % of the AEI. In a further step that will be published later also rainfed areas were compiled in order to form the Global data set of monthly irrigated and rainfed crop areas around the year 2000 (MIRCA2000). The data set can be used for global and continental-scale studies on food security and water use. In the future, it will be improved, e.g. with a better spatial resolution of crop calendars and an improved crop distribution algorithm. The MIRCA2000 data set, its full documentation together with future updates will be freely available through the following long-term internet site: http://www.geo.uni-frankfurt.de/ipg/ag/dl/forschung/MIRCA/index.html. The research presented here was funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) within the framework of the research project entitled "Consistent assessment of global green, blue and virtual water fluxes in the context of food production: regional stresses and worldwide teleconnections". The authors thank Navin Ramankutty and Chad Monfreda for making available the current SAGE datasets on cropland extent (Ramankutty et al., 2008) and harvested area (Monfreda et al., 2008) prior to their publication.
- Impact of climate change on renewable groundwater resources : assessing the benefits of avoided greenhouse gas emissions using selected CMIP5 climate projections (2013)
- Reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to minimize climate change requires very significant societal effort. To motivate this effort, it is important to clarify the benefits of avoided emissions. To this end, we analysed the impact of four emissions scenarios on future renewable groundwater resources, which range from 1600 GtCO2 during the 21st century (RCP2.6) to 7300 GtCO2 (RCP8.5). Climate modelling uncertainty was taken into account by applying the bias-corrected output of a small ensemble of five CMIP5 global climate models (GCM) as provided by the ISI-MIP effort to the global hydrological model WaterGAP. Despite significant climate model uncertainty, the benefits of avoided emissions with respect to renewable groundwater resources (i.e. groundwater recharge (GWR)) are obvious. The percentage of projected global population (SSP2 population scenario) suffering from a significant decrease of GWR of more than 10% by the 2080s as compared to 1971–2000 decreases from 38% (GCM range 27–50%) for RCP8.5 to 24% (11–39%) for RCP2.6. The population fraction that is spared from any significant GWR change would increase from 29% to 47% if emissions were restricted to RCP2.6. Increases of GWR are more likely to occur in areas with below average population density, while GWR decreases of more than 30% affect especially (semi)arid regions, across all GCMs. Considering change of renewable groundwater resources as a function of mean global temperature (GMT) rise, the land area that is affected by GWR decreases of more than 30% and 70% increases linearly with global warming from 0 to 3 ° C. For each degree of GMT rise, an additional 4% of the global land area (except Greenland and Antarctica) is affected by a GWR decrease of more than 30%, and an additional 1% is affected by a decrease of more than 70%.
- Global patterns of cropland use intensity (2010)
- This study presents a global scale analysis of cropping intensity, crop duration and fallow land extent computed by using the global dataset on monthly irrigated and rainfed crop areas MIRCA2000. MIRCA2000 was mainly derived from census data and crop calendars from literature. Global cropland extent was 16 million km2 around the year 2000 of which 4.4 million km2 (28%) was fallow, resulting in an average cropping intensity of 0.82 for total cropland extent and of 1.13 when excluding fallow land. The lowest cropping intensities related to total cropland extent were found for Southern Africa (0.45), Central America (0.49) and Middle Africa (0.54), while highest cropping intensities were computed for Eastern Asia (1.04) and Southern Asia (1.0). In remote or arid regions where shifting cultivation is practiced, fallow periods last 3–10 years or even longer. In contrast, crops are harvested two or more times per year in highly populated, often irrigated tropical or subtropical lowlands where multi-cropping systems are common. This indicates that intensification of agricultural land use is a strategy that may be able to significantly improve global food security. There exist large uncertainties regarding extent of cropland, harvested crop area and therefore cropping intensity at larger scales. Satellite imagery and remote sensing techniques provide opportunities for decreasing these uncertainties and to improve the MIRCA2000 inventory.