Focus Areas Detail

Palaeohydrological change and Fluvial archives
(Responsible: Gerardo Benito;

1. Introduction

Water is a key element on Earth, playing a crucial role in biological, atmospheric and geological evolution. The need of a Focus Area addressing the study of palaeohydrology including distribution of evidence, processes , and deposits during the glacial-interglacial periods is critical to understanding the terrestrial domain during Quaternary times. This initiative should be structured in such a way that different groups and water-related themes can be equally integrated in such a Focus Area. There are three major groups concerned with Quaternary palaeohydrology:

(1)The subcommission of Global Continental Palaeohydrology (GLOCOPH), dealing with the study of quantitative palaeohydrological indicators and reconstruction of stream flow records (incl. mean flow and extremes),

(2) the Fluvial Archives Group (FLAG), aiming to contribute to the better understanding of fluvial systems by the study of fluvial archives (river terraces, stacked fluvial sediments and alluvial fans) during the Quaternary, and

(3) the Palaeogroundwater Group dealing with the study of major changes of the recharge and discharge conditions of groundwater flow systems. These three groups are dealing with well differentiated issues but they also share much common ground and will benefit from interaction. The new Focus area may be used to coordinate joint initiatives and projects.

Palaeohydrological research in the last decade developed in a parallel direction to other international research programmes concerned with global change including both environmental and climatic change (e.g. International Geosphere-Biosphere Program-IGBP, Past Global Change Program-PAGES, World Climate Research Program-WCRP). Hydrological response to global change is a very complex issue since it depends not only on climate but on other parameters of the basin or catchment (bedrock, soils, vegetation, land-use, human activities etc.). New efforts of the different groups within INQUA and outside of INQUA should focus on how change impacts on the different components of the hydro-biosphere, such as hydrology, as well as adaptations to change. In this respect, palaeohydrology has become an important key to assist understanding of the potential effects of global change by using analogues from the past.

2. Objectives
This focus area aims to bring together scientists working on a diversity of research themes which relate to different aspects of the hydrological cycle, including rivers, lakes, and groundwater systems, at all temporal and spatial scales, but giving special emphasis to late Quaternary change at terrestrial sites, to analyse both rapid changes (decades to centuries) and long-term (centuries to millennia) changes.At longer timescales, analogue studies of past Quaternay episodes, such as MIS11, provide basis for studies of long-term evolution of natural systems. A major research theme will be based on sedimentary records and related techniques (isotopic composition, mineralogical analysis, geochronology), but links with other analytical records will be encouraged (e.g. documentary archives, archaeological, dendrochronological and botanic evidence).

The specific aims include:
     1) Extending knowledge of how past hydrological changes/global change in the past can illuminate future scenarios, employing databases as appropriate;
     2) Using results of global change modeling at a variety of temporal and spatial scales to investigate how anthropogenic climate change will affect fluvial catchments;
     3) Investigating how specific land use changes are affecting fluvial and lake catchments in different climatic contexts.

     4) To further develop new proxies and methods for the quantitative estimation of past hydrological change that can be input to and tested against Global and Regional Climate models.
     5) To explore past Quaternary episodes, such as MIS 11, as proxy for Holocene hydroclimatic conditions from which to analyse the evolution of natural systems as a control for identification of anthropogenic effects.
     6) To foster links betwen climate, hydrological and environmental changes by means of establishing close relationships among continuous terrestrial records on proxy climate (U series on speleothems and travertines etc), high resolution marine-core and ice-core records, and closely age-spaced data from other terrestrial material (rivers, lakes glacial detritus, soils), and groundwater recharge indicators (isotopic, geochemical). This requires a close interaction of involved groups on terrestrial records with the up-dated technologies for finely resolving chronology and the associated environmental changes (luminescence, accelerator 14C, U series, AAR, geochemical mass spectrometry.
     7) To study the interactions of surface-groundwater hydrology by dating periods of high precipitation with major recharge of large aquifers. This can be efficiently accomplished in regions where pre-existing research can be accessed and/or small number of additional analysis could add substantial value (e.g. Australia, Europe, Africa). It will be of particular interest to link high groundwater recharge to major fluvial activity.

3. Tasks within the inter-congress period

Specific task for 2012-2015 will be:
     a) To coordinate activities and exchange of information among the three groups involved in the focus areas. The information of the major activities, proposals and on-going projects will be exchange among groups.
     b) To organize international meetings and workshops according to the calendar of activities of the groups.
     c) To seek common sessions on International conferences among the groups. It was agreed to have a joined session in the IAG international conference in 2013 in Paris.
     d) To establish a core group of researchers to act as a steering committee.
     e) To propose and arrange publication of papers arising from working groups and from international meetings.
     f) To establish contacts with other relevant groups, to demonstrate awareness of other research programmes underway (e.g. PAGES), not only to avoid overlap but also to explore bases for research collaboration

4. Initial correspondents, including the leader, together with a statement that those named are prepared to serve

  4.1. Leaders (by working groups)

Prof. Gerardo Benito (Focus Area Leader)
National Museum of Natural Sciences-Spanish Council for Research, Serrano 115 bis, 28006
Madrid, SPAIN.

Prof. Juergen Herget (Secretary), Department of Geography, University of Bonn, Meckenheimer
Allee 166, D-53115 Bonn, GERMANY.

Prof. David Bridgland (Chairman), University of Durham, UNITED KINGDOM.

Dr. Stéphane Cordier (Secretary), Université Paris 12 Val de Marne, FRANCE.

Prof. Emerit. Sylvi Haldorsen, Department of Plants and Environmental Sciences, P.O.Box 5003, N-1432 AAs, NORWAY.

Dr. Dioni I. Cendón, Senior Research Scientist. Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO), Locked Bag 2001, Kirrawee DC, NSW 2232 AUSTRALIA.

4.2 Initial correspondents (by group)

NameInstitution, countrye-mail address Regional/Thematic focus
Prof. Vic Baker Department of Hydrology and Water
Resources The University of ArizonaUSA North America, palaeoflood hydrology
Prof. Yehouda Enzel The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel Israel, lake and river paleohydrology
Prof. Tony Brown University of Southampton, UK UK, Geoarchaeology
Prof. Ken Gregory University of Southampton, UK Palaeohydrological changes applied to river management
Prof. Gerald Nanson University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA Australia, fluvial and lake palaeohydrology
Prof. Vishwas Kale University of Pune, Pune 411 007, INDIA OR India, Palaeoflood hydrology
Dr. Edgardo Latrubesse University of Texas at Austin, USA Argentina, Brazil, Large Rivers
Prof. Mark Macklin University of Wales, Aberystwyth, UK Fluvial geomorphology, Mediterranean countries
Dr. Petteri Alho University of Turku Finland, Iceland, Fluvial dynamics
Prof. Jef Vandenberghe VU Amsterdam, The Netherlands Fluvial archives, Europe
Prof. Juergen Herget University of Bonn, Germany Hydraulic interpretation of deposits and structures
Prof. Gerald Nanson University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA Australia, fluvial and lake palaeohydrology
Prof. Roland Mäusbacher University of Jena, Germany
Prof. Torbjörn Törnqvist Tulane University, USA Coastal-fluvial interactions. Europe and North America
Prof. Dr. Jianyao Chen Sun Yatsen University, China or Asia
Dr. Jason J. Gurdak San Francisco State University, USA North America
Prof. Dr. Ofelia Tujchneider. National University El Litoral. Santa Fe, Argentina ; South America
Dr. Ir. M.J. (Martine) van der Ploeg Wageningen University, The Netherlands Europe
Prof. Rein Vaikmäe Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia Europe
Dr. Roland Purtschert, University of Bern, Switzerland Europe
Dr. Najiba Chkir Ben Jemâa Fac des Lettres et Sciences Humaines de Sfax, Tunisie Africa