Quoting from NASA: “Adaptation – adapting to life in a changing climate – involves adjusting to actual or expected future climate. The goal is to reduce our vulnerability to the harmful effects of climate change (like sea-level encroachment, more intense extreme weather events or food insecurity). It also encompasses making the most of any potential beneficial opportunities associated with climate change (for example, longer growing seasons or increased yields in some regions).”
NASA. Responding to Climate Change. Available here.
Discharge of a river consists of two components – quickflow and baseflow – based on the rate at which they react to rainfall. Quickflow responds rapidly to rainfall and is usually associated with surface and quick subsurface (interflow) runoff, whereas baseflow reacts slowly and is a steady contribution to stream discharge from shallow and deep subsurface storage. For this reason, baseflow is a very important water supply service, particularly during dry seasons.
Zhang, Lulu. 2015. “Impact of Land Use and Climate Change on Hydrological Ecosystem Services (Water Supply) in the Dryland Area of the Middle Reaches of the Yellow River.” Dresden, Germany: Technische Universität Dresden. Available here.
A site at which substances or contaminants occur at concentrations exceeding the levels specified in policies and regulations.
Government of Western Australia. What is site contamination? Available here.
Dryland is a type of terrestrial cover that receives less precipitation than the energy demand, given by a ratio of annual precipitation to potential evapotranspiration (P/PET) of between 0.05 and 0.65. Dryland covers 42 per cent of the global land surface and is home to one-third of the world’s population, 90 per cent of whom live in developing countries.
FAO. “Characteristics of drylands”. Available here.
Earth Observation technologies
Earth Observation technologies refers to any method of remote observation of the surface of the Earth that acquires information from airbone or space sensors. EO techniques have become essential to monitor vulnerable ecosystems and evaluate management practices on many fields such agriculture, forestry, weather forecasting or land-use policy. EO data characteristics: their global coverage with various temporal (hourly, weekly, bi-weekly) and spatial (from meters to kilometres) resolutions, their non-destructive nature, their immediate transmission, digital format and the open accessibility of some of them (e.g. Sentinel mission from the European Space Agency, or Landsat series and MODIS missions from NASA), make them key to evaluate ecosystems functioning, moreover in developing countries, because of ground data scarcity, unreliable monitoring networks, lack of data access and in some cases of technical expertise
Freshwater is the Earth’s water in solid, liquid or vaporous state that is not saline. The greater portion of this fresh water (68.7%) is in the form of ice and permanent snow cover in the Antarctic, the Arctic, and in the mountainous regions. Next, 29.9% exists as fresh groundwater. Only 0.26% of the total amount of freshwater on the Earth is concentrated in lakes, reservoirs and river systems where it is most easily accessible for our economic needs and absolutely vital for water ecosystems.
UNESCO. Definition of freshwater resources. Available here.
A waste treatment technique which involves the combustion of organic matter contained in waste materials. The process converts the waste into heat, flue gas and ash.
Waste Management Resources. Incineration. Available here.
Integrated Environmental Resources Management
An Integrated Environmental Resources Management is that management of water, land and other resources that promotes a development taking into account the physical limits of the ecosystems, maximizing economic and social welfare without compromising the ecosystem sustainability. This management of resources has an holistic perspective, and takes into account the complex and heterogeneous relationships, the non-linearities, the limits, and the different space and temporal scales of the environment.
Humberto Peña. Global Water Partnership Technical Committee (TEC). Available here.
Integrated Water Resources Management
Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) is a process which promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources in order to maximise economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems.
The Global Water Partnership. What is IWRM?. Available here.
Disposing waste in a landfill which is specifically designed structure that is able to isolate its content from its surrounding to reduce the environmental pollution.
HowStuffWorks. What is a Landfill? Available here.
Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR)
Managed aquifer recharge, or MAR, refers to the intentional storage and treatment of water in aquifers for subsequent use or environmental benefit.
What is MAR? Available here.
The Nexus Approach to environmental resources’ management examines the inter-relatedness and interdependencies of environmental resources and their transitions and fluxes across spatial scales and between compartments. Instead of just looking at individual components, the functioning, productivity and management of a complex system is taken into consideration.
The Nexus Approach to Environmental Resources´ Management. A definition from the perspective of UNU-FLORES. Available here.
Radar Topography Models
Radars have more applications than deriving topographic models (Digital Elevation Model)
Radar is an electromagnetic energy, form by the radio wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. Quoting ESA: ”The advantage of radar as a remote sensing tool is that it can image Earth’s surface through rain and cloud, and regardless of whether it is day or night. This is particularly useful for monitoring areas prone to long periods of darkness – such as the Arctic – or providing imagery for emergency response during extreme weather conditions. Radar data can also be used for monitoring land deformation. The ‘radar interferometry’ remote sensing technique combines two or more radar images over the same area to detect changes occurring between acquisitions. Interferometry allows for the monitoring of even slight ground movement – down to a few millimetres – across wide areas. As well as being a valuable resource for urban planners, this kind of information is essential for monitoring shifts from earthquakes, landslides and volcanic uplift.”
ESA. Instrument. Available here.
Refuse-driven fuel (RDF)
Typically consists of pelletized municipal solid waste. Pre-processing to remove iron materials, glass, grit, and other materials that are not combustible has to be undertaken. The remaining material, with calorific value, is then converted to pellets, which are used as fuels.
UNU-FLORES. Waste Management. Available here.
Resilience is the ability of an ecosystem to return to its original state after being disturbed, and can also be applied to cities, which the necessary capacity to meet the challenges of the future (e.g. climate change or increasing of urban population).
ResilientCity.org. Resilience. Available here.
Selective extraction of disposed matter for a specific next use. Typical examples are: recycling, composting and energy generation.
Recology. How we think about resources. Available here.
Secondary cities are ‘typically defined as those with populations between 500,000 and 3 million inhabitants’.
Ligtvoet W. et al. 2014. “Towards a world of cities in 2050 – an outlook on water-related challenges.” Background report to the UN-Habitat Global Report. Available here.
By-product of wastewater treatment plants containing water and components removed from wastewater such as organic matter, nutrients, and possible pathogens and heavy metals.
Ferrans, Laura. 2017. “Evaluation of Sustainable Options for Sewage Sludge Management in the Region of Lake Atitlán, Guatemala.” Master thesis, Technische Universität Dresden.
Systems and Flux Analysis considering Global Change Assessment (SFA)
SFA unit promotes inter-disciplinary research on material fluxes and cycling of the environmental resources water, soil and waste in order to enable a nexus approach to the sustainable management of these resources. Integrator, analyser and initiator of integrative research on environmental resources management, it will not only provide (modeling) tools and advice on data management, perform statistical and scenario analysis for global change assessment and but it will mainly act as driver and initiator of integrative research projects.
UNU-FLORES. Systems and Flux Analysis considering Global Change Assessment (SFA). Available here.
Rivers, lakes, inland water as a whole and aquifers that comprise two or more countries
United Nations University Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES)
The United Nations University Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES) was established in 2012 in Dresden, Germany. Important milestones during the establishment phase were two International Scoping Workshops which took place in November 2010 in Dresden, Germany, and in October 2011 in Maputo, Mozambique. During these workshops the research areas were worked out and entry points for joint study programmes of UNU-FLORES and the Technische Universität Dresden (TUD) were identified. In addition, opportunities and challenges of establishing a network for partnership of UNU-FLORES based in Mozambique and its specific topics in research and teaching were discussed.
UNU-FLORES, 2016. About Us. Available here.
By-product of the process of consumption that the consumer seeks to dispose /discard.
UNU-FLORES. Waste Mangement. Available here.
Minimizing the waste volume generated and passed through society; utilizing the minimized waste flow to produce something useful such as fertilizer, energy and secondary material for new products, safely disposing at a terminal location such as a dry landfill.
UNU-FLORES. Waste Mangement. Available here.
Water harvesting is the collection of runoff for productive purposes.
FAO – Natural Resources Management and Environment Department. Water Harvesting. Available here.
Water quality is determined by comparing the physical and chemical characteristics of a water sample with water quality guidelines or standards (such as those by the EPA or WHO).
Water quality indicators
Environmental indicators have been defined as physical, chemical, biological or socio-economic measures that best represent the key elements of a complex ecosystem or environmental issue. An indicator is embedded in a well developed interpretative framework and has meaning beyond the measure it represents.
Aquatic ecosystem health indicators can be broadly divided into four categories:
Indicators can be aggregated into indices (e.g. Drinking Water Quality Index DWQI).
UNEP. Water Quality Index and Indicators. Available here.
Water scarcity is defined as the point at which the aggregate impact of all users impinges on the supply or quality of water under prevailing institutional arrangements to the extent that the demand by all sectors, including the environment, cannot be satisfied fully. Water scarcity is a relative concept and can occur at any level of supply or demand. Scarcity may be a social construct (a product of affluence, expectations and customary behaviour) or the consequence of altered supply patterns – stemming from climate change for example.
An area experiences water stress when annual water supplies drop below 1,700 m3 per person. When annual water supplies drop below 1,000 m3 per person, the population faces water scarcity, and below 500 cubic metres “absolute scarcity”.
Crop physiologists define water use efficiency as the amount of carbon assimilated and crop yield per unit of transpiration (Viets, 1962) and then later as the amount of biomass or marketable yield per unit of evapotranspiration.
Irrigation scientists and engineers have used the term water (irrigation) use efficiency to describe how effectively water is delivered to crops and to indicate the amount of water wasted at plot, farm, command, or system level and defined it as “the ratio of irrigation water transpired by the crops of an irrigation farm or project during their growth period to the water diverted from a river or other natural source into the farm or project canal or canals during the same period of time (Israelsen, 1932).
Sharma, Molden & Cook. Water use efficiency in agriculture: Measurement, current situation and trends. In Drechsel, P., Heffer, P., Magen, H., Mikkelsen, R., Wichelns, D. (Eds.) 2015. Managing Water and Fertilizer for Sustainable Agricultural Intensification. International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA), International Water Management Institute (IWMI), International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), and International Potash Institute (IPI). First edition, Paris, France. Available here.
A watershed is an area of land that drains all the streams and rainfall to a common outlet such as the outflow of a reservoir, mouth of a bay, or any point along a stream channel.
U.S. Geological Survey. What is Watershed?. Available here.
E-waste is a popular, informal name for electronic products nearing the end of their “useful life.” Computers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, copiers, and fax machines are common electronic products. Many of these products can be reused, refurbished, or recycled.
‘Web GIS are […] systems that […] allow both the geospatial data and software to be accessed and applied remotely through the internet and web technologies’.
Ananda, Fanon, David Kuria, and Moses Ngigi. 2016. “Towards a new methodology for Web GIS development.” International Journal of Software Engineering & Application (IJSEA) 7(4):47–66. Available here.