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Critical Zone Hydrology Group

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The Amsterdam Critical Zone Hydrology Group

The major environmental and sustainability issues facing planet Earth and Mankind today involve important linkages with subsurface and near-surface hydrological conditions and processes. The Earth's 'Critical Zone' (CZ) - the porous near-surface layer that extends from the top of the vegetative canopy down to the deepest groundwater - is a constantly evolving zone where rock, soil, water, air and living organisms all interact and regulate the flows of energy, water, carbon and nutrients, thereby sustaining the natural resources that Mankind depends upon. As a result of demographic and economic developments, pressures on the CZ are mounting in many parts of the world. Changes in land use, pollution, and climate change threaten the surface layer's productive capacity, groundwater resources, river flow regimes and water quality. In turn, these hydrological changes have an impact on critical processes operating within the near-surface environment. Thus, the most immediate challenge faced by CZ researchers is to develop a predictive understanding of how the function of the CZ will evolve and respond to changes in climate, land use, and aquifer use.

Mission statement: To enhance our understanding of hydrological and biogeochemical processes and conditions operating within the Earth's Critical Zone, and to understand how these are interlinked and integrated at the landscape scale, thereby contributing to the sustainable use and management of the world's ecosystems and freshwater resources.

The ACZHG strives to achieve these goals through its Critical Zone hydrology research programme, and by equipping new generations of hydrology students with the sound practical and theoretical knowledge base needed to address the current and future challenges through the Group's acclaimed masters programme in Hydrology.


Strengths

The research and teaching expertise of the ACZHG staff covers the nearly complete spectrum of surface and groundwater hydrology, ranging from hydrometeorology and ecohydrology, through hillslope and unsaturated zone hydrology, catchment response analysis, groundwater hydraulics, geophysics and hydrogeology, to hydrochemistry, contaminant hydrology and isotope hydrology. Embedded in the Department of Earth Sciences, research and teaching conducted by the Group typically contains a strong field component resulting in a unique combination of theoretical, field, and modelling expertise applied to Critical Zone issues in a wide range of environmental settings.


Organization

The Amsterdam Critical Zone Hydrology Group was formed in January 2012 and evolved from the former Department of Hydrology and Geo-Environmental Sciences upon the restructuring of the Institute of Earth Sciences its research themes. The ACZHG is now embedded in the Dynamic Earth and Natural Resources Cluster within the Department of Earth Sciences of the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences at the VU University (FALW-VUA). The group consists of 10 scientific staff members (two of which seconded from Deltares), totals 6.3 FTU and is supported by two technical staff.


Contact information

Prof. Dr. L.A. Bruijnzeel
VU University Amsterdam
Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences
De Boelelaan 1085
1081 HV Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Email:l.a.bruijnzeel@vu.nl
Telephone: +31 (0)20 598 7294


Events

3 Jun. 2014
11:45 - Aula
PhD defence Chandra Prasad Ghimire
Thesis: Hydrological impacts of reforesting degraded pasture land in the Middle Mountain Zone of Central Nepal

News

The ACZHG wishes you a happy and successful New Year! Read our newsletter here.

Koos Groen and Henk Kooi publish in Nature on global offshore fresh groundwater reserves. Read more...

ACZHG associate Jaap Schellekens to coordinate 8.9 million Euro eartH2Observe project. Read more...

New Chandra Ghimire paper in Journal of Geophysical Research to be featured in AGU's Research Spotlight section of Eos. Read more...

New paper by Hylke Beck in Water Resources Research to be featured in AGU's Research Spotlight section of Eos. Read more...

The Global Streamflow Characteristics Dataset now available online.

Joint VU-ITC PhD student Chandra Ghimire received the ITC Research Award 2012 for best research paper. Read more...

Hylke Beck's PhD thesis Linkages between streamflow, climate & catchment characteristics: A global analysis now available online

New version of REACTIONS+ and Hydrogeochemcal software now available. Download here.

ACZHG participates in newly funded P4GES (Can Paying 4 Global Ecosystem Services values reduce poverty?) project

Maarten Waterloo elected best lecturer of the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences. Read more (in Dutch)

Amsterdam Hydrology master programme rated the best within the Netherlands by international panel. Read more...

Film-maker John Dennis Liu joining as Visiting Fellow
Read more...

Results VUA/UNIS-organized permafrost hydrology workshop in Svalbard now online