The Water Planetary Boundary: Interrogation and Revision

Tom Gleeson, Lan Wang-Erlandsson, Samuel C. Zipper, Miina Porkka, Fernando Jaramillo, Dieter Gerten, Ingo Fetzer, Sarah E. Cornell, Luigi Piemontese, Line J. Gordon, Johan Rockström, Taikan Oki, Murugesu Sivapalan, Yoshihide Wada, Kate A. Brauman, Martina Flörke, Marc F.P. Bierkens, Bernhard Lehner, Patrick Keys, Matti KummuThorsten Wagener, Simon Dadson, Tara J. Troy, Will Steffen, Malin Falkenmark, James S. Famiglietti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations

Abstract

The planetary boundaries framework proposes quantified guardrails to human modification of global environmental processes that regulate the stability of the planet and has been considered in sustainability science, governance, and corporate management. However, the planetary boundary for human freshwater use has been critiqued as a singular measure that does not reflect all types of human interference with the complex global water cycle and Earth System. We suggest that the water planetary boundary will be more scientifically robust and more useful in decision-making frameworks if it is redesigned to consider more specifically how climate and living ecosystems respond to changes in the different forms of water on Earth: atmospheric water, frozen water, groundwater, soil moisture, and surface water. This paper provides an ambitious scientific road map to define a new water planetary boundary consisting of sub-boundaries that account for a variety of changes to the water cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-234
Number of pages12
JournalOne Earth
Volume2
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 20 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This community project was directly supported by an internationalization grant to T.G. and I.F. from the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education. L.W.-E. and L.J.G. acknowledge support from Formas—a Swedish research council for sustainable development (Project Ripples of Resilience, 2018-02345). L.W.-E., I.F., S.E.C., and J.R. acknowledge the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme grant agreement (Project Earth Resilience in the Anthropocene, ERC-2016-ADG 743080 ). L.W.-E. acknowledges the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science postdoctoral fellowship ( P-17761 ). M.P. acknowledges support from the Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University (Research Area 7). The participation of F.J. was funded by the Swedish Research Council (VR, project 2015-06503) and the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning FORMAS ( 942-2015-740 ). M.K. is funded by European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement no. 819202 ). We thank many members of the community who contributed to the discussions.

Funding Information:
This community project was directly supported by an internationalization grant to T.G. and I.F. from the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education. L.W.-E. and L.J.G. acknowledge support from Formas?a Swedish research council for sustainable development (Project Ripples of Resilience, 2018-02345). L.W.-E. I.F. S.E.C. and J.R. acknowledge the European Research Council under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme grant agreement (Project Earth Resilience in the Anthropocene, ERC-2016-ADG 743080). L.W.-E. acknowledges the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science postdoctoral fellowship (P-17761). M.P. acknowledges support from the Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University (Research Area 7). The participation of F.J. was funded by the Swedish Research Council (VR, project 2015-06503) and the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning FORMAS (942-2015-740). M.K. is funded by European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement no. 819202). We thank many members of the community who contributed to the discussions. Conceptualization, Methodology, and Writing ? Original Draft, T.G. L.W.-E. S.C.Z. M.P. F.J. D.G. and I.F.; Writing ? Review and Editing, all authors. T.G. is a scientific advisor for Foundry Spatial Ltd.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors

Keywords

  • Earth System
  • environmental flows
  • moisture recycling
  • planetary boundary
  • resource management
  • sustainability
  • water cycle
  • water governance
  • water resources

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