Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

Scheduled special issues

The following special issues are scheduled for publication in HESS:

Thermodynamics and optimality in the Earth system and its subsystems (ESD/HESS inter-journal SI)
29 Sep 2017–31 Dec 2018 | Guest editors: A. Kleidon, P. Cox, H. Savenije, E. Zehe, M. Crucifix, and S. Hergarten | Information


This special issue aims to bring together contributions from different disciplines of the Earth system to describe and demonstrate the importance of thermodynamics and related thermodynamic optimality principles (such as maximum entropy production, maximum power/dissipation, and minimum energy expenditure) in understanding and predicting the behavior, organization, and evolution of thermodynamic Earth systems. Contributions may include manuscripts of more theoretical nature that describe the general relationship of thermodynamics and optimality to the complexity and evolution of Earth systems, and manuscripts that describe applications of thermodynamic approaches to atmospheric and hydrologic sciences as well as human impacts and habitable environments.

Integration of Earth observations and models for global water resource assessment
13 Oct 2017–31 Aug 2018 | Guest editors: M. G. F. Werner, G. Sterk, J. Schellekens, F. Sperna Weiland, A. van Dijk, J.-C. Calvet, E. Blyth, G. Balsamo, M. Anagnostou, and M. Floerke | Information


Water security is no longer the problem of a few regions; it concerns all global economies, rich and poor. This stresses the need for a holistic (integrated) approach to water resource management and decision making, including defence and mitigation of climatic extremes (floods and droughts) and associated impacts of food and water security, energy, and large-scale (re)forestation. However, both the availability and quality of water resources, as well as how these change in time, are difficult to estimate in many regions of the world. This is particularly due to the fact that many low-income countries lack basic monitoring systems. On the other hand, a multitude of Earth observations (EOs) are available, providing global-scale monitoring of water cycle parameters, and research based on EO and in situ data is ongoing.

Current research focusses on the consistent integration of water resource datasets, including those derived from Earth observations, in situ measurements, and hydrological models, to facilitate water resource assessments worldwide. In addition, effort is devoted in several research investigations to downscale these datasets and demonstrate their uses in case studies at regional, national, and local levels around the globe. Furthermore, large-scale models are being used more and more in local studies.

We invite submissions of original papers and reviews to this issue that relate to the list of subjects below. The proposed special issue is open to all papers that fit within the scope of the special issue. We expect about 50% of the contributions to come from the eartH2Observe project and the other 50% from outside the project.

Understanding and predicting Earth system and hydrological change in cold regions
01 Jun 2017–01 Sep 2018 | Guest editors: S. Carey, C. DeBeer, J. Hanesiak, Y. Li, J. Pomeroy, B. Schaefli, M. Weiler, and H. Wheater | Information


Statement of purpose of the special issue:

Global warming and other climatic changes are causing rapid and widespread changes to the landscape, vegetation, and water cycling. Cold regions, such as the interior of western Canada, are at the forefront of this change and are highly sensitive to further warming. Dramatic changes are occurring to landscapes and hydro-ecological systems. There is therefore an urgent need to understand the nature of the changes and to develop the improved modelling tools needed to manage uncertain futures. To this end, the Changing Cold Regions Network (CCRN; www.ccrnetwork.ca) aims to understand, diagnose, and predict interactions amongst the cryospheric, ecological, hydrological, and climatic components of the changing Earth system at multiple scales with a geographic focus on western Canada, including the Saskatchewan and Mackenzie River basins.

CCRN is a Canadian-led research programme led by a consortium of eight universities and four federal agencies, due to be completed in March 2018. It is therefore timely for a special issue to bring together papers that synthesize this research and address recent advances in understanding, diagnosis, and prediction of past and future changes in cold-region Earth systems either as part of the CCRN initiative or from other studies around the world. The development and use of numerical models to diagnose past change and predict future sensitivity and response under various climate and land-cover scenarios is a particular focus. Key questions of relevance include whether cold-region hydrological processes and their interactions have changed in response to climatic drivers, what the feedbacks and thresholds leading to cold-region Earth system changes are, and/or what factors impart hydrological resilience or sensitivity to change in cold regions.

The special issue is open to all submissions within its scope and welcomes related studies from cold-region environments around the world.

Environmental changes and hazards in the Dead Sea region (NHESS/ACP/HESS/SE inter-journal SI)
26 Jun 2017–30 Jun 2018 | Guest editors: C. Siebert and E. Morin | Information


The Dead Sea region constitutes a unique environmental system on Earth. Set in an extraordinary landscape and cultural area, it is central to life in this region and of great economic and ecological importance. Today, the region is faced with rapid environmental changes and a multitude of hazardous natural phenomena. The ongoing lake level decline of the Dead Sea, the desertification process, occasional flash floods, the development of numerous sinkholes, and the existing significant seismic risk indicate that the region can by affected by important human, economic, and ecologic loss in future. Due to its outstanding characteristics, such as sharp climatic gradients, extreme water salinity, its dynamics, and the combination of both natural and anthropogenic drivers, the Dead Sea region represents a unique natural laboratory in which to study multiple disciplines such as geophysics, hydrology, and meteorology.

The environmental changes in Earth, atmosphere, and water are linked to the main geomorphic feature in the region, the Dead Sea Transform fault system. Due to this active fault zone, the region is exposed to severe earthquake hazard, which in turn, considering the exposed assets and the vulnerability of the building stock, determines a significant seismic risk in the region. Knowledge about processes and structures in the underground is also required for the study of sinkholes. Sinkholes form when groundwater, undersaturated with respect to easily soluble minerals, uses faults as conduits to percolate to subsurface salt deposits. The water dissolves and flushes the salt, leading to a collapse of the underground substrate structure. Thus, the development of sinkholes is enabled. Besides triggering sinkhole formation, groundwater recharge determines the available water resources. The Dead Sea being a terminal lake, its water level decline is controlled by changes in subsurface as well as surface water inflow and evaporation. A direct link to hydrology and atmospheric sciences is thereby established. The rapid shrinking of the water surface area is accompanied by a strong local climatic change, which induces changes in atmospheric circulation patterns. Here, the Dead Sea can be viewed as a laboratory for studying effects of climate change under much accelerated conditions compared to the rest of the world.

The objective of the multidisciplinary special issue "Environmental changes and hazards in the Dead Sea region" is to compile research and recent advances on the atmospheric, hydrological, and geophysical processes and dynamics of the Dead Sea and its surroundings, which are also of prototype relevance for other (semi)arid terminal basins of the world. Papers included in this special issue could address the processes of sinkhole genesis, groundwater recharge and movement, flash flooding, as well as seismic or severe meteorological events and could include topics such as the quantification of the water budget components. Moreover, contributions are invited that demonstrate how this knowledge contributes to aspects of risk assessment (or its main components like hazard, exposure, and vulnerability) and could assist in efficient risk mitigation and remediation strategies as well as to appropriate implementation of early warning systems in the region. Both measurement and modelling studies are welcome.

The planned special issue aims to address the unique conditions of the Dead Sea region from different disciplinary views. Given the fast environmental changes in the different spheres, the special issue will be of wide interest to readers from seismologists, geophysicists, engineers, and hydrologists to meteorologists. Interest will not be limited to researchers working in the region as similar changes are occurring in other parts of the world too, many on a much longer timescale.

The special issue is initiated by the Helmholtz Virtual Institute’s DEad SEa Research VEnue (DESERVE). The project brings together researchers working on diverse research fields related to the Dead Sea environment. The special issue will be open for all submissions within its scope.

Assessing impacts and adaptation to global change in water resource systems depending on natural storage from groundwater and/or snowpacks
15 Apr 2017–15 Jan 2018 | Guest editors: D. Pulido-Velazquez, J. I. López-Moreno, M. Pulido-Velazquez, K. Hinsby, H. J. Henriksen, J. Carrera, and M. Bernhardt | Information


Nowadays, there is a certain consensus that the planet is undergoing a cycle of climate change in which human activities are the main driving force. The assessment of the recent and future impacts of this climate change and its uncertainties is a necessary step for the design and selection of future efficient and sustainable mitigation and adaptation measures. The adaptation of water resource systems to potential impacts of climate and demand changes (global change) is one of the main challenges of our society. In order to analyze adaptation strategies (including nature-based solutions, combined with non-natural ones) we need to develop methods and tools able to assess the different hydrological, technical, economic, environmental and institutional aspects. The objective of this special issue is to compile research works about recent and future impacts of global change on water source systems depending on natural storage, including aquifers, subsurface retention and stream–aquifer interaction, as well as storages in snowpacks. We also include works about the design of adaptation strategies in these systems. We intend to create a sample of studies to show singularities related to the spatial scale (river basins and aquifers), specific environment of the location (e.g., Alpine basins, coastal areas), hydrological processes (e.g., snow processes, groundwater recharge, flow and discharge and seawater intrusion) and management particularities.

Floods and their changes in historical times - A European perspective 29 Oct 2013–31 Dec 2017 | Guest editors: A. Kiss, R. Brázdil, and G. Blöschl | Information


The recent flood in early June 2013 resulted in numerous casualties, mass evacuations, immense material damage and further socio-economic problems in Central Europe. This event occurred in a period of numerous other recent floods, drawing attention to the even greater, catastrophic historical floods in Europe that occurred in earlier centuries. A deeper knowledge and a better understanding of these events can provide us with extremely useful information for developing more effective flood risk management approaches. This is especially true in areas with a large density of human population. Therefore, it is of crucial importance to understand the causes of extreme flood events, the changes in their frequency in the past several hundreds of years, and to what extent the magnitudes and processes of the greatest flood events in historic times are comparable with those of present-day extremes.

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