Nature publication: the fate of Asia’s glaciers under 1.5 degree warming

We published a paper in Nature projecting that under a 1.5  degree warming, as agreed upon under the Paris Agreement, the glaciers in High Mountain Asia will have lost about 35% of their mass. Under more realistic climate scenarios the mass loss could add up to 65%, with dire consequences for people that depend on the melt water runoff of the Asian rivers.

A  full-text access to a view-only version of our paper can be found with the following link!

Also see the News and Views about our paper by Graham Cogley

First author Philip Kraaijenbrink has made a nice visual story line of the study.

Some good press coverage: Carbon Brief  The Guardian

PCR-GLOBWB and high impact papers: Yoshi and Niko strike again!

Former members of our group Yoshihide Wada and Niko Wanders were involved in new high impact publications using PCR-GLOBWB:

Yoshi was co-author on a paper in Nature assessing how groundwater depletion is embedded in international food trade.  See this link for a nice BBC news item.

Both Niko and Yoshi were involved in a GRL paper looking how water management can both mitigate and intensify hydrological drought. The PNAS website had a nice item about this work.



Global two-layer transient groundwater model published (and more)

We are happy to announce that Inge de Graaf published a paper about our newly-developed global two-layer transient groundwater model. This version is coupled one-way with the global hydrology and water resources model PCR-GLOBWB. A newer version also has a two-way (at time-step) coupling with PCR-GLOBWB and will be reported on shortly. You can find the paper here!

Furthermore, Yoshihide Wada (vice-director Water at IIASA and senior research associate at UU) and colleagues published a new paper in Nature Geoscience in which they show from analyses of satellite and local well data spanning the past decade that long-term changes in monsoon precipitation are driving groundwater storage variability in most parts of India either directly by changing recharge or indirectly by changing abstraction.

Nature Climate Change: Global drivers of future flood risk

Worldwide economic losses from river flooding could increase 20-fold by the end of the 21st century if no further actions on flood risk reduction are taken. Over 70% of this increase can be attributed to economic growth in flood prone areas

This follows from a recent study by a Dutch consortium that includes our research group.

See the study in Nature Climate Change!

Read more at:


A high-resolution global groundwater model

Inge de Graaf , PhD student in our group has published a paper about a global 6-arcminute one-layer groundwater model. The model is made in MODFLOW and is forced with recharge and surface water levels from our global hydrological model. In this publication a steady state global groundwater depth map has been made, but in subsequent work Inge will provide an updated 5-arcminute two-layer version and transient runs, including the effects of groundwater abstractions.

The reference:

De Graaf,  I.E.M., E.H. Sutanudjaja, L.P.H. van Beek, and M.F.P. Bierkens, 2015. high-resolution global-scale groundwater model. Hydrology Earth System Science, 19, 823-837.

The paper was highlighted at the EGU website:


A nice picture of the global groundwater table:

Long-term average groundwater depth (m below surface)

Long-term average groundwater depth (m below surface)










WRI Launches Global Flood Analyzer – based on model runs with PCR-GLOBWB


The World Resources Institute has launced the Aqueduct Global Flood Analyzer v1.0. It the first-ever public analysis of current and future river-flood risks worldwide.

The Analyzer estimates current and 2030 values for potential exposed GDP, affected population and urban damage from river floods for every state, country, and major river basin in the world.

The tool is based on a large number of runs with our global hydrological model PCR-GLOBWB  from 1070-2030 using bias-corrected global climate models as inputs. These runs have been downscaled by Deltares and turned into flood risk (people and GDP affected) by IVM-VU University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University and the  under different socio-economic scenarios made by PBL- Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.

See the blog post at WRI for more information.

The key findings are:

Key findings:

  • River flooding could affect more people and cause significantly more damage by 2030, as climate change and socio-economic development accelerate.

Increased flood expore by 2013




  • Today, river flooding affects 21 million people worldwide and exposes $96 billion in GDP on average each year. By 2030, those numbers could grow to 54 million people and $521 billion in GDP exposed every year.

Today’s GDP exposed to river floods

  • Top 11 countries (ranked by affected population) are India, Bangladesh, China, Vietnam, Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Brazil.

Top 15 countries with greatest percentage of population exposed to river floods

See the publications supporting this research: Winsemius et al (2013) and Ward et al. (2014).