GEWEX Science Goals

For the period from 2023 – 2032 GEWEX has formulated three science goals with each specific topics of special interest. The full document describing the GEWEX Science Plan for 2023 – 2032 can be found here.

Goal # 1

Determine the extent to which Earth’s water cycle can be predicted.
This Goal is framed around making quantitative progress on three related areas posed in terms of the following questions:

1. Reservoirs
What is the rate of expansion of the fast reservoirs (atmosphere and land surfaces), what is its spatial character, what factors determine this and to what extent are these changes predictable?

2. Flux exchanges
To what extent are the fluxes of water between Earth’s main reservoirs changing and can these changes be predicted and if so on what time/space scale?

3. Precipitation Extremes
How will local rainfall and its extremes change under climate change across the regions of the world?


Goal # 2

Quantify the inter-relationships between Earth’s energy, water and carbon cycles to advance our understanding of the system and our ability to predict it across scales:

1. Forcing-feedback understanding
How can we improve the understanding of climate forcings and feedbacks formed by energy, water and carbon exchanges?

2. ABL process representation
To what extent are the properties of the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) defined by sensible and latent energy and water exchanges at the Earth’s surface versus within the atmosphere (i.e., horizontal advection and ABL-free atmosphere exchanges)?

3. Understanding Circulation controls
To what extent are exchanges between water, energy and carbon determined by the large-scale circulations of the atmosphere and oceans?

4. Land-atmosphere interactions
How can we improve the understanding of the role of land surface-atmospheric interactions in the water, energy and carbon budgets across spatiotemporal scales?


Goal # 3:

Quantify anthropogenic influences on the water cycle and our ability to understand and predict changes to Earth’s water cycle.

1. Anthropogenic forcing of continental scale water availability
To what extent has the changing greenhouse effect modified the water cycle over different regions and continents?

2. Water management influences
To what extent do water management practices and land use change (e.g., deforestation) modify the water cycle on regional to global scales?

3. Variability and trends of water availability
How do water & land use and climate change affect the variability (including extremes) of the regional and continental water cycle?