Marc Bierkens

Prof. dr. Marc F.P. Bierkens


Postal address and coordinates
Department of Physical Geography
Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University
P.O. Box80115
3508 TC Utrecht
Tel. +31 (0) 30 253 2777/2749
Fax: +31 (0) 30 253 1145
Email: m.f.p.bierkens at
Link to staff directory Utrecht University

Visiting address
De Uithof
Willem C. van Unnik Building
Heidelberglaan 2
3584 CS Utrecht
Room 109 of Zonneveld Wing 

Short CV
Marc Bierkens (1965) holds the chair in Earth Surface Hydrology at the Department of Physical Geography at Utrecht University and was acting chairman of the department of Physical Geography between March 2010 and May 2015. He received his MSc in Hydrology from Wageningen University (1990), a PhD in Physical Geography from Utrecht University (1994) and became professor of Hydrology at Utrecht University in 2002. He is also partly employed by Deltares In between 1994 and 2002 he worked as a senior scientist and team leader at Alterra Research Institute in Wageningen. Marc Bierkens’ fields of expertise are groundwater hydrology, stochastic hydrology, hydrological regionalisation, upscaling theory and geostatistics. Recently initiated work comprises integrated modelling of soil-water-vegetation dynamics, data-assimilation methods for operational water management and global scale hydrological modelling in relation to climate change and water availability. Marc Bierkens is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and member of the European Geosciences Union and the International Association of Hydrological Sciences and is  editor for Water Resources Research. He was chairman of the Boussinesq Center, the network of university hydrology groups in the Netherlands (2007-2011) and was chairman of the Netherlands Hydrology Society (2011,2017),  representing  over 600 hydrology professionals. He co-organised the IAHS ModelCARE conference in 2005 in The Netherlands. He was supervisor on 17 completed PhD theses and has been a committee member on > 60. Marc Bierkens (co-) authored about 180 publications, >130 of these appeared in international peer-reviewed journals. He is principal author of the book “Upscaling and Downscaling Methods for Environmental Research” (2002), co-author of the book “Sampling for Natural Resource Monitoring” (2006) and editor of the book “Climate and the Hydrological Cycle” (2008).

GEO4-4417 Unsaturated Zone Hydrology
GEO4-4420 Stochastic Hydrology

Key publications by research interest

Geostatistics (incl. mapping, upscaling, sampling)

  • Bierkens, M.F.P. and P.A. Burrough, 1993. The indicator approach to categorical soil data; I. Theory.  Journal of Soil Science 44, 361-368.
  • Bierkens, M.F.P. and P.A. Burrough, 1993. The indicator approach to categorical soil data; II. Application to mapping and land use suitability analysis. Journal of Soil Science 44, 369-381.
  • Bierkens, M.F.P., 1996. Modeling hydraulic conductivity of a complex confining layer at various spatial scales. Water Resources Research 32, 2369-2382.
  • De Gruijter, J.J., D.J. Brus, M.F.P. Bierkens and M. Knotters, 2006. Sampling for Natural Resources Monitoring.Spinger,Berlin, 332 pp.
  • Schuurmans, J.M., M.F.P. Bierkens, E.J. Pebesma and R. Uijlenhoet, 2007. Automatic prediction of high-resolution daily rainfall fields for multiple extents: the potential of operational radar. Journal of Hydrometeorology 8, 1204–1224.

Stochastic hydrology (incl. time series modelling, data-assimilation)

  • Bierkens, M.F.P. and C.E. Puente, 1990. Analytically derived runoff models based on rainfall point processes. Water Resources Research 26, 2653-2659.
  • Bierkens, M.F.P., 1998. Modeling water table fluctuations by means of a stochastic differential equation. Water Resources Research 34, 2485-2499.
  • Bierkens, M.F.P., M. Knotters and T. Hoogland, 2001. Space-time modelling of water table depth using a regionalized time series model and the Kalman filter. Water Resources Research 37, 1277-1290.
  • Schuurmans, J.M. , P.A. Troch, A.A. Veldhuizen, W.G.M. Bastiaanssen and M.F.P. Bierkens, 2003. Assimilation of remotely sensed latent heat flux in a distributed hydrological model. Advances in Water Resources 26, 151-159.
  • Karssenberg D, O. Schmitz, P. Salamon,  K. de Jong and M.F.P. Bierkens, 2010. A software framework for construction of process-based stochastic spatio-temporal models and data assimilation.  Environmental Modelling & Software 25, 489-502.


  • Rietkerk, M., S.C. Dekker, M.J. Wassen, A.W.M. Verkroost and M.F.P. Bierkens, 2004. A putative mechanism for Bog Patterning. The American Naturalist 163, 699-708.
  • Dekker, S.C., M. Rietkerk and M.F.P. Bierkens, 2007. Coupling microscale vegetation-soil water and macroscale vegetation-precipitation feedbacks in semi-arid ecosystems. Global Change Biology 13, 671–678.
  • Brolsma R.J., D. Karssenberg, and M.F.P. Bierkens, 2010. Vegetation competition model for water and light limitation. I: Model description, one-dimensional competition and the influence of groundwater. Ecological Modelling 221, 1348-1363.
  • Brolsma, R. J., M. T. H. van Vliet, and M.F.P. Bierkens, 2010. Climate change impact on a groundwater-influenced hillslope ecosystem. Water Resources Research 46, W11503, doi:10.1029/2009WR008782.
  • Siteur, K., M. B. Eppinga,,  D. Karssenberg, M. Baudena, M. F. P. Bierkens, and M. Rietkerk, 2014. How will increases in rainfall intensity affect semiarid ecosystems? Water Resources Research  50, 5980–6001.

Large-scale hydrology

  • Immerzeel W.W., L.P.H. van Beek, and M.F.P. Bierkens, 2010. Climate Change Will Affect the Asian Water Towers. Science 328,  1382-1385.
  • Wada, Y., L. P.H. van Beek, C. M. van Kempen, J. W.T.M. Reckman, S. Vasak, and M.F.P. Bierkens, 2010. Global depletion of groundwater resources. Geophysical Research Letters L20402.
  • Gleeson, T,Y. Wada, M.F.P. Bierkens, L.P.H. van Beek, 2012. Water balance of global aquifers revealed by groundwater footprint. Nature 488 197–200.
  • Immerzeel, W.W., F. Pelliciotti and M.F.P. Bierkens, 2013. Rising river flows throughout the twenty-first century in two Himalayan glacierized watersheds, Nature Geoscience 6, 742–745.
  • Lutz, A.F., W.W. Immerzeel, A.B. Shresta and M.F.P. Bierkens, 2014. Consistent increase in High Asia’s runoff due to increasing glacier melt and precipitation. Nature Climate Change 4, 587–592.