Themes of the Boussinesq Center

The three priority themes of the Boussinesq Center are:

1. Hydrology and Climate

The climate system and the hydrological cycle are intimately linked. Climate change is felt most strongly through changes in stocks and fluxes of the hydrological cycle. Hydrological states exert a strong control on climate variability by affecting the magnitude and variability of hydrological fluxes. In this priority theme three subthemes are distinguished:

  • Detection of changes in the hydrological cycle
  • Impacts of climate on the hydrological cycle
  • Feedback mechanisms between the hydrological and climate systems

2. Hydrology and Geo-ecosystems

Geo-ecosystems are coupled systems within which there is a powerful interaction between the ecosystem and pedological, geological and hydrological processes. Geo-ecosystem science aims to understand how earth surface processes work and interact in a dynamic landscape by analysing the evolution of landscape ecosystems over various temporal and spatial scales. A major sub-discipline of geo-ecosystem science is ecohydrology. It seeks the interaction between hydrological and ecological patterns and processes. Two related subthemes can be distinguished:

  • Patterns and complexity in landscapes
  • Interaction between land use, surface hydrology, biogeochemistry and climate

3. Hydrology and Geo-environment

A large portion of the world population lives in deltaic regions, which are almost always flat and low lying, and where there are strong interactions among surface water, groundwater and the sea. Intensive human activities result in heavy demand for fresh water resources and put major stresses on water quality. Despite stricter environmental regulations for both industry and agriculture, in the past century intentional and accidental industrial spills and extensive use of pesticides and manure have led to large scale pollution of the subsoil, the groundwater and the surface water. Moreover, enormous changes in groundwater flow patterns, brought about by human activities, have also greatly disturbed pre-existing hydrogeochemical conditions, often leading to deteriorating water quality.

Four subthemes are distinguished:

  • Interaction of surface water and groundwater
  • Improves theories for multiphase flow
  • Density dependent flow and transport
  • Multiscale reactive transport