Interagency Integrated Water Cycle Group (formed Spring 2018)
Water is a critical part of the Earth system, both as an important resource (e.g., for food production, energy, and drinking water), and through its link to many hazards (e.g. floods, droughts, and the transmission/spread of vector-borne diseases). Water moves among the oceans, atmosphere, cryosphere, land surface, aquifers, biosphere, and through human systems and infrastructure, forming an integrated water cycle. USGCRP’s Integrated Water Cycle Group (IWCG) coordinates research that will help us better understand the effects of
global change on the water cycle and the impacts of those changes through collaborative, interdisciplinary approaches.
The IWCG seeks to:
- Coordinate research relevant to understanding the integrated water cycle, how it changes in response to short-term and long-term perturbations, and the associated local, regional and global impacts of those changes;
- Advance capabilities and research infrastructure that support water cycle observation, modeling and predictability at a range of scales; and
- Develop approaches to apply and translate our understanding and inform decisions concerning
resilienceand water security.
The IWCG is co-chaired by senior agency representatives from science producing and science utilizing agencies (currently DOE and NOAA).
To balance the need to study specific components of the water cycle and its linkages with other important earth system components, as well as maintain an ability to look holistically (i.e., with end-to-end inclusion of science, science translation, and decision making), the IWCG will support three workstreams and integrative activities among them:
Climate, Water, and Energy Exchanges (CWEX) | currently vice-chaired by DOE and NASA
CWEX focuses on facilitating interagency research with the goal of an enhanced predictive understanding of the water cycle and energy fluxes of the changing Earth and global climate system, using satellite and surface-based observations, global and regional process-resolving models, and the resulting diagnostics and data. CWEX’s focus on water cycle and energy exchange is predominantly on multiscale atmospheric processes and surface-atmosphere interactions at various scales, including phenomena such as local recycling of water, moisture transport, cloud-precipitation interactions, and changes to radiative balance.
The scientific objectives of CWEX include (but are not limited to) understanding and prediction of current and future water cycle extremes; land-atmosphere interactions; the role of clouds in a changing water cycle; teleconnections between water cycle phenomena and changes in other parts of the Earth system (e.g. how changes in the Arctic may affect mid-latitude storms); and the impacts of large scale human-Earth system interactions (e.g., land management and irrigation) on regional and global water cycles.
Hydrology and Watershed Systems (HWS) | currently vice-chaired by USGS
HWS focuses on interagency activities and research that start from a local watershed perspective and expand into higher spatial and temporal scales. HWS focuses on what we need to know in order to advance our understanding of land surface hydrology to improve understanding of the impacts of global change on these systems. HWS will explore questions of hydrologic model structure and modularity, observation and analysis methods for hydrology systems, and watershed-level process characterization and understanding, in support of understanding and making meaningful projections of changes in hydrologic systems driven by global change.
Adaptation, Information, and Social Sciences for decision makers (RAINSS) | currently vice-chaired by NOAA
RAINSS focuses on the translation of water cycle science information in ways that are responsive to user needs and the complex decision-making challenges they face. RAINSS coordinates efforts to develop research methods, capabilities, and user support tools for water resources. RAINSS will explore how we advance our understanding of user needs to better support decision making and will support communication and activities that help identify science needs from water resource decision makers.