Northeastern Section - 42nd Annual Meeting (12–14 March 2007)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 9:10 AM


VOROSMARTY, Charles J., Director, Water Systems Analysis Group, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, Morse Hall, 39 College Road, Durham, NH 03824,

The hydrology of the planet is under rapid and in many cases functionally irreversible change due to the combined forces of climate variability, greenhouse warming, land management and cover change, water resource management, hydraulic engineering including dams and interbasin transfers, point and non-point sources of pollution. This paper presents evidence for this broad spectrum of hydrological change. It will consider a variety of spatial domains --from global and continental, to national, to regional and local settings in New England-- and identify issues that can be traced directly to the work and ideas of S.L. Dingman. These issues involve the major transformations of landscape water balances, river flow regimes, and acceleration/deceleration of constituent transports through watersheds. At the same time, our capacity to monitor trends in the system is in jeopardy due to the combined forces of data commercialization, abandonment of in situ monitoring networks, and intellectual property considerations. The capacity to observe inland waterways from space-based remote sensing is a major step forward in counteracting this trend and one to which the work of Dingman and colleagues have made important contributions. The talk will offer a description of the UNH Earth Systems Observatory, a regional environmental monitoring system emphasizing the near real time determination of the state of inland waterways, aquatic ecosystems and their linked coastal zones in the Gulf of Maine region, and reflecting the notion promoted by Dingman of environmental systems linked through the water cycle. The quantitative assessment of hydrological variables, emphasized throughout the career of S.L. Dingman, creates the underpinning of emerging indicators of water scarcity and stress, and points the way forward to a new era in global water resource assessment.