Closer working between research communities
The culture of closer working that was nurtured during WATCH has led to a step-change in the level of mutual understanding between climate and water scientists. The dividends of this are clear, and they should provide the incentive – and give groups the confidence – to develop the now-necessary future links with other groups such as oceanographic modellers.
A new appreciation of the relationships between the drivers of past and future change in river flows and water resources
Climate change, demographic and land-use change, and changing patterns of consumption all drive changes in river flows and water resources. WATCH has provided a new appreciation of the relative importance of these individually, and also of how they interact.
New consolidated global and regional data sets to provide for a systematic analysis of the terrestrial water cycle
Not only have these new WATCH data sets for the 20th and 21st centuries underpinned the research within the project, but they are now readily available to a worldwide research community for use in future regional and global studies.
WATCH leaves the clear legacy of an increased understanding of the water cycle in a time of global change. In addition, it has created an international group of knowledgeable and experienced modellers working at the interface between hydrology and climate science. These scientists will go on to make valuable contributions to future global science. And, they will take with them an awareness and an enthusiasm for what can be achieved by large research teams working in partnership. This enthusiasm was particularly apparent amongst those in the early stage of their careers who were interviewed during the writing of this report. One of the reasons was summed up by Fulco Ludwig; “All those involved in WATCH have benefited because the scale of the project has allowed people to spend significant and meaningful amounts of time on it. And, the level of senior involvement has been exceptional.”