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Emerging Threats to Global Water Security as Viewed from Space

Jay Famiglietti, Professor and Executive Director, Global Institute for Water Security, University of Saskatchewan

Oct 19 2020 | 11:00am to 12:00pm PST Online

Headshot of Jay Famiglietti
Jay Famiglietti

Dr. Famiglietti’s work has been incorporated in many global climate models and has helped the public and interested stakeholders understand the unsustainable usage of groundwater in many parts of the world. Anyone who wants to know more about communicating the effects of climate change on water resources and more should have a listen.
— Claudia Flores, MESM 2021


The evolving water cycle of the 21st century is proving to be stronger and more variable, resulting in broad swaths of mid-latitude drying, accelerated by the depletion of the world’s major groundwater aquifers. A well-defined geography of freshwater ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ is clearly emerging. What does water sustainability mean under such dynamic climate and hydrologic conditions, in particular when coupled with future projections of population growth? How will water managers cope with these new normals, and how will food and energy production be impacted? In this presentation, I will review what nearly two decades of satellite research tells us about emerging threats to water security. I will share my personal experiences with science communication and water diplomacy, and I will encourage the next generation of water scientists to seek out transdisciplinary experiences as part of their graduate and postgraduate training. 


Jay Famiglietti is a professor of hydrology and Executive Director of the Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan, where he holds the Canada 150 Research Chair in Hydrology and Remote Sensing. Before moving to USask, Famiglietti served as the Senior Water Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His research group uses satellites and develops advanced computer models to track how freshwater availability is changing around the globe. A fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Geological Society of America, Famiglietti is a regular advisor to state, provincial and federal government officials on water security issues. 

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