Research visit to Finland
I was happy to take part in a seminar on "Isotopes and environmental tracers in hydrology" organized by the Water Resources and Environmental Engineering group at the University of Oulu, Finland. On two days, we heard about latest applications of tracers and discussed recent developments in tracer hydrology. On the third day, I served as an opponent for a PhD defense, which meant that I discussed with the PhD student their thesis over 90 minutes. For the rest of the week, I joined the research group for a field campaign at the Pallas-Yllästunturi-Nationalpark to take for example soil samples for stable isotope analysis and install snow lysimeters. It was a week full of exciting research, great discussions and stunning landscapes. I am looking forward to go back to Finland next year due to funding by the German Hydrolgical Society.
It was a great honor to attend a Symposium on Ecological Restoration and Efficient Utilization of Water Resources in Semi-arid Regions in Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province, China last week. I learned a lot about the issues of water shortage and contamination in Hebei (West and South-West of Beijing). The talks at the symposium presented the conflict between increasing water demand for agricultural and forestation, while the groundwater availability dropped dramatically over the last decades due to the ongoing land use changes. I presented how stable isotopes of water can help to assess the partitioning between green water (used by plants) and blue water (groundwater recharge), which are the grand challenges in semi-arid environments to ensure agriculture production and groundwater availability.
A field excursion to research centers investigating improved irrigation and fertilization practices showed current developments towards recommendations to the government and farmers in the Hebei province in order to mitigate further stress on the water supply.
I was further invited to visit the group of Prof. Shiqin Wang at the Center of Agricultural Resources Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shijiazhuang, Hebei, China. We visited one of her field sites in the Taihang Mountain and I enjoyed the discussion with her and her students.
The week-long trip allowed an in-depth insight into the current hydrological issues addressed in Chinese research, but also provided a unique experience of Chinese culture, drinks, and food. Thanks to Prof. Shiqin Wang, who made this possible! (Thanks to Shiqin and Yan-Jun for sharing their photos!)
Very interesting discussion on the topic of water ages in the hydrological cycle during last weeks workshop funded by the Wassernetzwerk Baden-Württemberg. The interdisciplinary organizing committee (Prof. Dr. Markus Weiler , Chair of Hydrology, University of Freiburg; Prof. Dr. Werner Aeschbach , Institute of Environmental Physics, Heidelberg University; Prof. Dr. Christiane Werner , Chair of Ecosystem Physiology, University of Freiburg; PD Dr. Christiane Stumpp , Helmholtz Zentrum München and University of Freiburg) brought together early career and senior scientists working on the different compartments of the hydrological cycle. This way, the workshop fostered exchange between the disciplines to get a better understanding of how the water flow in the unsaturated and saturated zone is affected by vegetation and atmosphere. The workshop ended with a field visit of a long-term experimental forest site close to Freiburg (Conventwald).