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    Water Use in Global Livestock Production—Opportunities and Constraints for Increasing Water Productivity
    ([New York] : Wiley, 2020) Heinke, Jens; Lannerstad, Mats; Gerten, Dieter; Havlík, Petr; Herrero, Mario; Notenbaert, An Maria Omer; Hoff, Holger; Müller, Christoph
    Increasing population, change in consumption habits, and climate change will likely increase the competition for freshwater resources in the future. Exploring ways to improve water productivity especially in food and livestock systems is important for tackling the future water challenge. Here we combine detailed data on feed use and livestock production with Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) statistics and process-based crop-water model simulations to comprehensively assess water use and water productivity in the global livestock sector. We estimate that, annually, 4,387 km3 of blue and green water is used for the production of livestock feed, equaling about 41% of total agricultural water use. Livestock water productivity (LWP; protein produced per m3 of water) differs by several orders of magnitude between livestock types, regions, and production systems, indicating a large potential for improvements. For pigs and broilers, we identify large opportunities to increase LWP by increasing both feed water productivity (FWP; feed produced per m3 of water) and feed use efficiency (FUE; protein produced per kg of feed) through better crop and livestock management. Even larger opportunities to increase FUE exist for ruminants, while the overall potential to increase their FWP is low. Substantial improvements of FUE can be achieved for ruminants by supplementation with feed crops, but the lower FWP of these feed crops compared to grazed biomass limits possible overall improvements of LWP. Therefore, LWP of ruminants, unlike for pigs and poultry, does not always benefit from a trend toward intensification, as this is often accompanied by increasing crop supplementation.
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    Poor correlation between large-scale environmental flow violations and freshwater biodiversity: implications for water resource management and the freshwater planetary boundary
    (Munich : EGU, 2022) Mohan, Chinchu; Gleeson, Tom; Famiglietti, James S.; Virkki, Vili; Kummu, Matti; Porkka, Miina; Wang-Erlandsson, Lan; Huggins, Xander; Gerten, Dieter; Jähnig, Sonja C.
    The freshwater ecosystems around the world are degrading, such that maintaining environmental flow Environmental flow (EF): "The quantity, timing, and quality of water flows required to sustain freshwater and estuarine ecosystems and the human livelihoods and well-being that depend on these ecosystems."- Arthington et al. (2018). (EF) in river networks is critical to their preservation. The relationship between streamflow alterations (subsequent EF violationsEF violations are deviations in streamflow beyond the upper and lower boundaries of environmental flow envelopes (EFEs). The EFEs establish an envelope for acceptable EF deviations based on pre-industrial (1801-1860) stream discharge (see Sect. 2.2 for more details)) and the freshwater biodiversity response is well established at the scale of stream reaches or small basins (g 1/4<100g km2). However, it is unclear if this relationship is robust at larger scales, even though there are large-scale initiatives to legalize the EF requirement. Moreover, EFs have been used in assessing a planetary boundaryPlanetary boundary: planetary boundary defines biogeophysical planetary-scale boundaries for Earth system processes that, if violated, can irretrievably impair the Holocene-like stability of the Earth system. for freshwater. Therefore, this study intends to conduct an exploratory evaluation of the relationship between EF violation and freshwater biodiversity at globally aggregated scales and for freshwater ecoregions. Four EF violation indices (severity, frequency, probability of shifting to a violated state, and probability of staying violated) and seven independent freshwater biodiversity indicators (calculated from observed biota data) were used for correlation analysis. No statistically significant negative relationship between EF violation and freshwater biodiversity was found at global or ecoregion scales. These findings imply the need for a holistic bio-geo-hydro-physical approach in determining the environmental flows. While our results thus suggest that streamflow and EF may not be the only determinant of freshwater biodiversity at large scales, they do not preclude the existence of relationships at smaller scales or with more holistic EF methods (e.g., including water temperature, water quality, intermittency, connectivity, etc.) or with other biodiversity data or metrics.
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    Global scenarios of irrigation water abstractions for bioenergy production: a systematic review
    (Munich : EGU, 2021) Stenzel, Fabian; Gerten, Dieter; Hanasaki, Naota
    Many scenarios of future climate evolution and its anthropogenic drivers include considerable amounts of bioenergy as a fuel source, as a negative emission technology, and for providing electricity. The associated freshwater abstractions for irrigation of dedicated biomass plantations might be substantial and therefore potentially increase water limitation and stress in affected regions; however, assumptions and quantities of water use provided in the literature vary strongly. This paper reviews existing global assessments of freshwater abstractions for bioenergy production and puts these estimates into the context of scenarios of other water-use sectors. We scanned the available literature and (out of 430 initial hits) found 16 publications (some of which include several bioenergy-water-use scenarios) with reported values on global irrigation water abstractions for biomass plantations, suggesting water withdrawals in the range of 128.4 to 9000 km3 yr−1, which would come on top of (or compete with) agricultural, industrial, and domestic water withdrawals. To provide an understanding of the origins of this large range, we present the diverse underlying assumptions, discuss major study differences, and calculate an inverse water-use efficiency (iwue), which facilitates comparison of the required freshwater amounts per produced biomass harvest. We conclude that due to the potentially high water demands and the tradeoffs that might go along with them, bioenergy should be an integral part of global assessments of freshwater demand and use. For interpreting and comparing reported estimates of possible future bioenergy water abstractions, full disclosure of parameters and assumptions is crucial. A minimum set should include the complete water balances of bioenergy production systems (including partitioning of blue and green water), bioenergy crop species and associated water-use efficiencies, rainfed and irrigated bioenergy plantation locations (including total area and meteorological conditions), and total biomass harvest amounts. In the future, a model intercomparison project with standardized parameters and scenarios would be helpful.
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    Historical and future changes in global flood magnitude - evidence from a model-observation investigation
    (Munich : EGU, 2020) Do, Hong Xuan; Zhao, Fang; Westra, Seth; Leonard, Michael; Gudmundsson, Lukas; Boulange, Julien Eric Stanislas; Chang, Jinfeng; Ciais, Philippe; Gerten, Dieter; Gosling, Simon N.; Müller Schmied, Hannes; Stacke, Tobias; Telteu, Camelia-Eliza; Wada, Yoshihide
    To improve the understanding of trends in extreme flows related to flood events at the global scale, historical and future changes of annual maxima of 7 d streamflow are investigated, using a comprehensive streamflow archive and six global hydrological models. The models' capacity to characterise trends in annual maxima of 7 d streamflow at the continental and global scale is evaluated across 3666 river gauge locations over the period from 1971 to 2005, focusing on four aspects of trends: (i) mean, (ii) standard deviation, (iii) percentage of locations showing significant trends and (iv) spatial pattern. Compared to observed trends, simulated trends driven by observed climate forcing generally have a higher mean, lower spread and a similar percentage of locations showing significant trends. Models show a low to moderate capacity to simulate spatial patterns of historical trends, with approximately only from 12 % to 25 % of the spatial variance of observed trends across all gauge stations accounted for by the simulations. Interestingly, there are statistically significant differences between trends simulated by global hydrological models (GHMs) forced with observational climate and by those forced by bias-corrected climate model output during the historical period, suggesting the important role of the stochastic natural (decadal, inter-annual) climate variability. Significant differences were found in simulated flood trends when averaged only at gauged locations compared to those averaged across all simulated grid cells, highlighting the potential for bias toward well-observed regions in our understanding of changes in floods. Future climate projections (simulated under the RCP2.6 and RCP6.0 greenhouse gas concentration scenarios) suggest a potentially high level of change in individual regions, with up to 35 % of cells showing a statistically significant trend (increase or decrease; at 10 % significance level) and greater changes indicated for the higher concentration pathway. Importantly, the observed streamflow database under-samples the percentage of locations consistently projected with increased flood hazards under the RCP6.0 greenhouse gas concentration scenario by more than an order of magnitude (0.9 % compared to 11.7 %). This finding indicates a highly uncertain future for both flood-prone communities and decision makers in the context of climate change. © Author(s) 2020.
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    How the performance of hydrological models relates to credibility of projections under climate change
    (Wallingford : IAHS Press, 2018) Krysanova, Valentina; Donnelly, Chantal; Gelfan, Alexander; Gerten, Dieter; Arheimer, Berit; Hattermann, Fred; Kundzewicz, Zbigniew W.
    Two approaches can be distinguished in studies of climate change impacts on water resources when accounting for issues related to impact model performance: (1) using a multi-model ensemble disregarding model performance, and (2) using models after their evaluation and considering model performance. We discuss the implications of both approaches in terms of credibility of simulated hydrological indicators for climate change adaptation. For that, we discuss and confirm the hypothesis that a good performance of hydrological models in the historical period increases confidence in projected impacts under climate change, and decreases uncertainty of projections related to hydrological models. Based on this, we find the second approach more trustworthy and recommend using it for impact assessment, especially if results are intended to support adaptation strategies. Guidelines for evaluation of global- and basin-scale models in the historical period, as well as criteria for model rejection from an ensemble as an outlier, are also suggested.