A Regional Hydroclimate Initiative for the Andes

Research Questions

Within the science themes we have identified more specific research questions:

  1. What are the dynamical feedbacks between the Andes and the processes involved in the hydrologic cycle over the Andes (water vapor, precipitation, evapotranspiration, sublimation, soil moisture, infiltration, groundwater, and river flows) at a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, for average and extreme conditions? Among those processes the following were highlighted: water vapor sources and pathways, precipitation recycling, low-level jets and atmospheric and aerial rivers, the Bolivian High anticyclone, the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), tropical easterly waves, and El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Among the most important extreme events the following were identified: intense storms, mesoscale convective systems, floods, droughts, cold spells, hail storms, lightning, fires, Zonda winds, and landslides.
  2. What are the physical dynamics of processes involved in the surface energy budget over the Andes across a wide range of spatial and temporal scales?
  3. How does the dynamical coupling between 1 and 2 operate across the Andean altitudinal, latitudinal, and longitudinal gradients and from glaciers to deserts?
  4. What is the influence of the cryosphere on the surface hydrologic cycle of the Andes, and what is the influence of the atmospheric hydrologic cycle on the Andean cryosphere?
  5. What are the current and future human impacts from water diversion and pollution, deforestation, land use and land cover, and climate change on processes and variables involved in water and energy budgets over the Andes?
  6. How should these impacts be dealt with from a water (and other life support systems) management perspective?
  7. How will the current and future water and energy budgets along the Andes affect ecosystem services, water supply, hydropower generation, food production and food security, natural hazards, and human health?
  8. What is the effect of the Andes on pollution in urban valleys and what are the risks for human health?