It is known that human activities and interventions, such as land-use change, change in agricultural management techniques and urbanization can cause observable changes in hydrological responses to sequences of historic precipitation and air temperature. Furthermore, it is now widely recognized, that human activities are changing climate forcings. For many regions of the world, climate models predict increasing air temperatures and changes in precipitation amounts, its seasonal distribution and its type (rainfall, snowfall).

A large number of factors, therefore, can affect runoff and flood formation, low flow and droughts, groundwater recharge, evapotranspiration and land erosion. Precise quantification of future hydrological changes within catchments is a strong challenge due to the complexity of interaction between the processes involved, to observational data quality and to the uncertainties in the climate change signals.

The focus of the conference is in the identification of change signals in the components of the hydrological water cycle. How can changes be identified from past records? Can these changes be related to human interventions? What changes can be modelled and to what extent are model errors masking the change signal variability? These questions will be addressed in the following conference session topics.

  • Identification of hydrological change
  • Historical data analysis (data homogeneity, data quality)
  • Land use change impacts on hydrology
  • Feedback mechanisms in climate change modelling
  • Experimental basins and their value for long term hydrological monitoring and detailed process studies
  • Prediction of change in ungauged basins
  • Water quality aspects

The topics strongly correspond to the UNESCO IHP intentions and its cross cutting programs.