See our project:


Regional Climate Change:
Disentangling the Role of Land Use and Water Management


Several continental regions on Earth are getting wetter, while others are literally ‘drying out’. Drying and wetting are, based on observations, generally attributed to the combined effects of global warming from greenhouse gas forcing, natural variability, and anthropogenic modification of the water cycle. However, existing climate models that account for these effects cannot adequately explain the observed patterns of hydrological change.

DETECT aims to close this gap in understanding. To better comprehend the origin of these patterns, we are building a modelling framework that explains past observations as realistically as possible, accounts for potential drivers of change that may have been understudied in the past, and can predict future changes. magnified imbalances that lead to excessive drying or wetting in more remote regions.

Applying this modeling framework DETECT investigates the hypothesis that humans – through several decades of land use change, and intensified water use and management – have caused persistent modifications in the coupled land and atmospheric water and energy cycles, that considerably contribute to the observed trends in water storage at the regional scale.

We test this hypothesis for a single, continental-size region in the 1st phase (Europe/Eurasia). In later phases, we evaluate the transferability of our approach for regions with different environmental conditions. We develop evidence-based sustainability criteria for land and water use activities.

DETECT is a joint effort by scientists from the Universities of Bonn, Göttingen and Cologne, the Forschungszentrum Jülich and the DWD, established as Collaborative Research Center 1502, supported by DFG: