All posts by Miriam Coenders

Spring meeting: Hydrological Extremes (Utrecht)

Theme: Hydrological extremes

Date: April 20th, 2018
Location: Botanical Garden Utrecht University, Budapestlaan 17, 3584 HD Utrecht
Costs: free of charge

Preliminary Program:

09:30 – 10:00         Welcome
10:00 – 10:30         keynote Philip Ward
10:30 – 10:45         Pitches floods
10:45 – 11:00         Coffee/tea
11:00 – 11:30         keynote Henny van Lanen
11:30 – 11:45         Pitches Drought
11:45 – 12:30         Lunch

12:30 – 13:00         Travel to KNMI

13:00 – 13:10         Welcome – Patrick van den Hoek
13:10 – 13:30         Introduction KNMI – Patrick van den Hoek
13:30 – 13:50         KNMI climate scenarios – Janette Bessembinder
13:50 – 14:20         Precipitation scaling – Geert Lenderink
14:20 – 14:50         New insights in sea level rise – Sybren Drijfhout
15:00 – 15:30         Excursion: Measurement field – Corné Oudshoorn
15:30 – 16:00         Excursion: Weather room / 3D

16:00 Drinks and snacks

Boussinesq awardee 2017 Walter Immerzeel: “Recent advances in understanding climate, glacier and river dynamics in high mountain Asia”

On Friday June 2nd Walter Immerzeel (Utrecht University) received the Boussinesq Prize 2017  awarded by prof. Bob Su. Walter Immerzeel  has quickly become one of the most influential and highly cited young scientists in mountain hydrology, in particular on the effect of climate change on snow and glaciers in High Mountain Asia (HMA) and how this affects future water resources. He developed a unique interdisciplinary research line in which innovative fieldwork, remote sensing, meso-scale regional circulation modelling and glacio-hydrological models are combined to elucidate glacio-hydrological processes at the catchment scale. The acquired process understanding is used to assess the effects of climate change ont he glacio-hydrology and water resources of High Mountain Asia as a whole.

During the Boussinesq Spring Meeting 2017 in Enschede Walter gave a keynote presentation on “Recent advances in understanding climate, glacier and river dynamics in high mountain Asia”.  The presentation gave an excellent overview on all the interesting work Walter and his team carried out in the though climate and landscape of the Himalayas.

Watch the keynote presentation.


Boussinesq Spring Event 2017: Enschede

On June 2, 2017, the Boussinesq Spring Event was held in ITC Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation, University of Twente.

In the morning, Walter Immerzeel (Utrecht University) delivered the keynote on “Recent advances in understanding climate, glacier and river dynamics in high mountain Asia”. The talk defined well the theme of the event as “High-Mountain Hydrology”. During the event, Prof. Bob Su (ITC) announced that Walter Immerzeel the winner for Boussinesq Prize 2017.


Afterwards, early-career scientists also pitched their researches, which was followed with a dedicated poster session. Before the end of the day, participants joined the tour to the Grolsch Brewery.

Watch here all the presentations

Morning Program

10:00-10:15 walk in/coffee
10:15-11:15 Keynote: Walter Immerzeel “High-Mountain Hydrology”
11:15-11:20 Boussinesq Prize Announcement
11:20-11:30 Break
11:30-12:30 Pitches (3 mins each)

Afternoon Program

12:30-13:30 Lunch
13:30-15:00 Poster Session
15:00-17:00 Visit to the Grolsch Brewery

Lecture by Birdsdall-Dreiss Award winner: Ed Harvey

Friday June 30th, Ed Harvey will give a lecture at UNESCO-IHE, Delft (start 16:00h). Ed Harvey is the 2017 Birdsdall-Dreiss Award winner. Further information about Ed Harvey and the award can be found here.

When – Friday 30 June 
16:00 – Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lecture
17:00 – Reception

Where – IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, Westvest 7, 2611 AX Delft The Netherlands (Google Map)

The Birdsall-Dreiss Lectureship began in 1978, as part of a bequest left to the Geological Society of America – Hydrogeology Division.  The bequest is used to provide travel funds for outstanding scientists working in the field of hydrogeology to visit other institutions and give talks on their research.

About the Lecture – On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service, a new bureau in the Department of the Interior. This “Organic Act” directed the Park Service “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” This conservation, enjoyment and protection mandate also applies to water resources within parks.

 Unlike most park resources, that are located largely within park boundaries, or are completely under the management control of the National Park Service, park water resource issues and management often involve greater challenges. These challenges arise from the fact that surface water and aquifer boundaries often extend beyond park boundaries and because the legal authority to allocate and manage water resources typically resides with the states. Thus, parks often need to consider resource issues at a larger landscape, or seascape scale, and manage collaboratively with neighbors and partners to protect, manage and restore water resources. In addition, water resource expertise is not always available within a park, resulting in the need to partner with other agencies, universities, friends groups, or regional and national offices. Lastly, many park water resource issues have broader legal, political, socioeconomic, and cultural implications requiring park managers to consider more than just the science alone when making a water resource management decision. 

The lecture, using a series of examples from various parks across the United States, will explore the process of how parks identify water resource needs, issues and concerns, and how they develop and apply the necessary scientific information needed to make water resource management decisions. Specific challenges to decision making and park water resource management will be presented and explored including trans-boundary issues, partnership building, scientific uncertainty, funding and personnel/expertise, and making science-based decisions that also appropriately consider the legal, political, socioeconomic, and cultural impacts of the decision. As part of the visit, the lecturer will also present future water resource research and management needs in parks and across the nation, present information about engaging in water resources research within parks, and advise students on programs for seasonal and permanent employment as a water resource professional within the National Park Service.


Boussinesq Lecture 2017

Date: Thursday, October 26, 2017, 10.00 – 18.00 h
Speaker: Chris Kummerow, Colorado State University, USA
Location: Science Center Delft, Delft, The Netherlands
Subject: Precipitation
Other speakers: Ruud van der Ent (Utrecht University) and Aart Overeem (KNMI)


10.00 – 12:15 Short presentations by PhD-students

10:00-10:15 Camille le Coz (TU Delft): “An overview of rainfall products over Africa”
10:15-10:30 Jeewanthi Sirisena (IHE): “Comparison of four precipitation products for hydrological simulation in the Irrawaddy Basin in Myanmar”
10:30-10:45 Kingsley Kumah (ITC)
10:45-11:00 Lotte de Vos (WUR): “High resolution urban rainfall monitoring by opportunistic sensing”
11:00-11:15 Coleen Carranza (WUR): “Using lagged dependence to identify (de)coupled surface and subsurface soil moisture values”
11:15-11:30 Pleun Bonekamp (UU): “The impact of spatial resolution on resolving spatial precipitation patterns in complex terrain”
11:30-11:45 Thomas Janssen (VUA):”Improving the representation of Amazon forest drought responses in land surface models”
11:45-12:00 Laurene Bouaziz (TUD): “Rainfall-runoff modelling of the Meuse catchment”

12.15 Lunch for PhD event attendees

13.30 Introduction by chairman
13.40 Chris Kummerow (Colorado State University): “Global precipitation – the successes and shortcomings at different space and time resolutions”
14.40 Coffee break
15.00 Ruud van der Ent (Utrecht University): “Origin and residence times of precipitation, and why that matters in hydrology”
15.45 Aart Overeem (KNMI): “Towards operational rainfall monitoring with microwave links from cellular telecommunication networks”
16.30 Closure and drinks


Ruud Schotting wins 2016 STW Open Mind award

Professor Ruud Schotting (Utrecht University) has won one the five 2016 STW Open Mind awards for his idea ‘Towards drought preparedness: How simple can it be?’ Fifteen short-listed ideas from all technological fields competed for the awards of 50,000 euro each to realize a prototype of the proposed idea.

More information about the STW Open Mind award and the about the idea of Ruud can be found on the website of STW.

Boussinesq Summer Event 2016: Amsterdam

On Friday July 8 the Boussinesq Spring/Summer event was held at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. During the morning session exciting talks by Hugo de Boer (carbon and water fluxes by plants), Josh Dean (carbon in rivers) and Monique Heijmans (carbon in peat soils) set the stage for an inspiring day on the theme Water and Carbon with 29 participants.

After lunch we departed to the Ilperveld. Here we boarded for a 2 hour boat trip through this amazing peatland complex. Michel Hensens guided us through the history of the region. Surprisingly, the now scenic wetlands appeared to have a long history as waste dumpsite of the city of Amsterdam, including being a dump site for hospitals up to the late 1950s. Michel explained how this pollution, which is still in the ground, is being managed and how this improved the botanical and water quality of the area during the last decades.

Halfway the tour, we met up with Ko van Huissteden. Ko explained what equipment he and his research group use in the Ilperveld to measure carbon fluxes coming from peat in order to establish if this site is a net source or sink of green house gases. At 5 o’clock we were back at the Vrije Universiteit, nicely in time to finish the day with well-deserved drinks and snacks.


Martijn Westhoff, Ype van der Velde and Margreet van Marle


09:30 doors open
10:00 Hugo de Boer (UU): Plants: the green pumps in the terrestrial hydrological cycle
10:45 Josh Dean (VU): Terrestrial carbon cycling and the role of the “aquatic pathway”
11:30 Coffee break
11:45 Monique Heijmans (WUR): Water and carbon and (peat) mosses
12:30 Lunch
13:00 Departure to Ilperveld
~16:30 Leave Ilperveld, back to Vrije Universiteit

Darcy Lecture 2016 by Prof. Dr. Ty Ferré

“Seeing Things Differently: Rethinking the Relationship Between Data, Models, and Decision-Making”

Wageningen University, May 24 10:00 in Orion building, Room C3033, Adress Bronland 1, 6708 WH, Wageningen

Practicing hydrogeologists construct detailed numerical models to predict the responses of hydrologic systems to natural and applied stresses. These predictions form the basis for decisions that must balance optimal use of resources and ecosystem support. These decisions typically involve multiple interested parties with strongly differing priorities for water allocation. Despite the importance that stakeholders place on water resources, budgets for hydrogeologic studies are often limited. As a result, the hydrologic models used for decision support are severely data limited. This requires improved methods to identify the optimal set of observations to collect and to use model-predictions to support robust decision-making under considerable uncertainty.

For more information see:


Boussinesq Lecture 2016

Date: Thursday, October 27, 2016, 11.00 – 18.00 h
Speaker: prof. Gabriel Katul, Duke University
Location: Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts (KVAB), Brussel, Belgium
Subject: Evaporation and transpiration
Other speakers: Dr. Miriam Coenders (TU Delft) and Dr. Diego Miralles (VU Amsterdam/Ghent University)

Note that the Boussinesq Lecture is preceded by the 2016 PhD meeting of the Boussinesq Center, including a poster session during lunch.

Please register by sending an email to Tamara Schalkx and indicate whether you will attend the PhD-meeting (then we will have lunch for you).


10.55 Opening PhD event with coffee and tea (also non-PhD students are more then welcome to attend the PhD-event)
11.00 Tadesse Alemayehu (VU Brussel): Mapping ET in a data scarce tropical basin using MODIS and GLDAS dataset
11.15 Robin van der Schalie (VU Amsterdam): tba
11.30 Joeri van Engelen (Utrecht Univ.): Hypersaline groundwater intrusion in the Quarternary aquifer of the Nile Delta
11.45 Remko Nijzink (TU Delft): Constraining models with remote sensing; a collaborative experiment
12.00 Ricardo Teixeira de Silva (Wageningen Univ.): Soil moisture functions and threats for Urban Planning and decision making in a changing world
12.15 Yang Lu (TU Delft): Estimating surface heat fluxes by assimilating land surface temperature and soil moisture data
12.30  Vincent Odongo (UT Twente): Evapotranspiration controls in a tropical Ramsar Lake Basin

12.45 Lunch for PhD event attendees

13.30 Introduction by chairman
13.40 Gabriel Katul (Duke University): Evapotranspiration: From the kinetic theory tot the limits of plant life
14.40 Coffee break
15.00 Miriam Coenders (TU Delft): Unraveling the evaporation process; DTS and stable water isotopes
15.45 Diego Miralles (VU Amsterdam/Ghent University): On the role of evaporation during droughts and heatwaves
16.30 Closure and drinks

During the whole day there will be te possibility to show posters, all coffee breaks are poster sessions

PhD candidate “Fresh groundwater reserves in 40 major deltas under global change” (1.0 fte)

Job description

The growing population and booming economy in deltas, often occurring in mega-cities, will increasingly tax existing groundwater reserves, notably through excessive groundwater abstraction and urbanisation that results in the sealing of aquifers to groundwater recharge. As deltas are already under threat by climate change and sea-level rise, the confounding effects of these stressors will most likely lead to enhanced depletion and salinisation of fresh groundwater resources. At the same time, groundwater reserves are key to solving the problem of future water scarcity in deltas under a growing climate- and socio-economic change. Until our technologies are advanced enough to increase supply (using water of lesser quality) or reduce demand, fresh groundwater will be of vital importance to economic (agricultural and industrial) development in many countries. Here will we apply a combination of state-of-the-art models of surface water hydrology and variable-density groundwater flow to estimate the current fresh groundwater reserves and distributions in 40 major deltas around the world as well as their projected trends under climate- and socio-economic change. This novel approach includes the detailed palaeo-hydrogeological modelling of four deltas in combination with assessing the main factors explaining the fresh-salt groundwater distribution in deltas and mapping these factors worldwide. Using this setup, we will greatly increase understanding of salinisation processes in deltas and contribute to better coastal groundwater management. We will also analyse the effectiveness of possible mitigating measures (such as reducing groundwater abstraction, implementing aquifer storage and recovery) to safeguard or even increase fresh groundwater reserves in the near future.

The research project is funded by NWO the New Delta Program and will be conducted in close cooperation with Deltares. For more information contact Prof. Marc Bierkens (


Highly motivated candidates with an MSc degree in hydrology, hydrogeology, physical geography, civil engineering, applied mathematics or a related field are encouraged to apply. The candidate should have a proven knowledge of numerical modelling and programming experience is a serious advantage. He/she should be proficient in English and have excellent scientific writing and presenting skills. The candidate is an enthusiastic team player and has good communicational skills. Candidates who do not speak or understand Dutch are expected to communicate in Dutch within two years.


The three PhD candidates are offered a one-year fulltime position with -at good performance- the prospect of an extension with a maximum of three years (in total 4 years fulltime). The salary starts with €2.125,- gross per month in the first year and increases to €2.717 gross per month in the fourth year of employment at fulltime appointment.

The extent of these positions officially is 38 hours per week (1.0 fte). The salary is supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition we offer a pension scheme, a collective health insurance and flexible employment conditions. Conditions are based on the Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities.

About the organisation

Utrecht University has great ambitions for its teaching quality and study success rates. This also applies to its clear research profiles which are centred around four themes: Dynamics of Youth, Institutions, Life Sciences and Sustainability. Utrecht University plays a prominent role in our society and contributes to finding the answers to topical and future societal issues. The program Water, Climate & Ecosystems resorts under the theme Sustainability and joins together scientists from a vast range of disciplines to understand the interplay between the hydrological cycle, the climate system and life on earth.

The Faculty of Geosciences offers education and research concerning the geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere. With a population of 2200 students (BSc and MSc) and 425 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty is organised in four Departments: Innovation and Environmental Sciences, Earth Sciences, Physical Geography, and Human Geography and Urban and Regional Planning.

The Earth Surface Hydrology group ( is part of the Department of Physical Geography. Its expertise includes the integrated modelling of soil water-vegetation dynamics, data-assimilation methods for operational water management and global scale hydrological modelling in the context of global change. The group has built the next-generation global hydrological model PCR-GLOBWB, which is widely used in various global or continental hydrological analyses


To apply please go to the UU vacancy website (, find the adverb under “”The program Water Climate & Ecosystems at Utrecht University is hiring 3 PhD Candidates” and use the link to attach a letter of motivation, curriculum vitae with description of master research project, list of grades at the master level, and (email) addresses of two references. Application deadline is October 1st, 2015

[added: 24-8-2015]