EMPLACE: Patterns and process hierarchies
Platform Project - PP2.3
Securing freshwater resources is a management task at the landscape scale but underlying hydrological and biogeochemical processes act often at much smaller scales. In EMPLACE - Emergent patterns of water and pollutant fluxes in catchments under global change - we explore patterns in integral large-sample data at the landscape scale and targeted observations of water quantity and quality to reveal the underlying processes and their hierarchy.
Background and scientific challenge
The quantity and quality of water resources is deteriorated by human activities posing a risk to water safety. This entails pollutant inputs from point and diffuse sources such as wastewater and agriculture. To effectively manage water quantity and quality we need a sound knowledge base at the scale of catchments being the natural management units for surface and groundwater resources. The challenge lies in the high complexity of catchments with interacting processes and often unknown hierarchies. This challenge however, also entails the opportunity to make use of water quantity and quality observations that obtained worldwide in standard environmental monitoring programs to explore and understand the drivers and processes behind them.
We seek to approach catchment complexity by analysing water quantity and quality data to map and categorize emerging archetypes and trajectories of catchment export behaviour and deduce hypothesis on underlying dominant processes. This process makes use of large-sample data-driven techniques but also builds on models, refined experiments and targeted monitoring approaches. By that, we aim to address spatial and temporal scales that cannot be captured by experiments and are setting the scene for robust mechanistic modelling approaches.
Contents and envisioned outcome
The platform project is organized in subprojects that all address the common goal of analysing water quantity and quality data to map and categorize emerging archetypes and trajectories of catchment export behaviour:
- Archetypes and trajectories of water and macronutrient flux across catchments
- Nitrogen legacies pools and time scales of transport and reactions
- Organic carbon sources and concentration trends across catchments
- Water and particulate fluxes in natural-rural-urban watersheds
- Generation processes of streamflow and flood events and hazards under global change