Articles | Volume 18, issue 2
Review article
19 Feb 2014
Review article |  | 19 Feb 2014

Advancing catchment hydrology to deal with predictions under change

U. Ehret, H. V. Gupta, M. Sivapalan, S. V. Weijs, S. J. Schymanski, G. Blöschl, A. N. Gelfan, C. Harman, A. Kleidon, T. A. Bogaard, D. Wang, T. Wagener, U. Scherer, E. Zehe, M. F. P. Bierkens, G. Di Baldassarre, J. Parajka, L. P. H. van Beek, A. van Griensven, M. C. Westhoff, and H. C. Winsemius

Abstract. Throughout its historical development, hydrology as an earth science, but especially as a problem-centred engineering discipline has largely relied (quite successfully) on the assumption of stationarity. This includes assuming time invariance of boundary conditions such as climate, system configurations such as land use, topography and morphology, and dynamics such as flow regimes and flood recurrence at different spatio-temporal aggregation scales. The justification for this assumption was often that when compared with the temporal, spatial, or topical extent of the questions posed to hydrology, such conditions could indeed be considered stationary, and therefore the neglect of certain long-term non-stationarities or feedback effects (even if they were known) would not introduce a large error.