NH
Natural Hazards

Hydrology

Anthropogenic changes of the landscape and natural hazards

Anthropogenic changes of the landscape and natural hazards

In this post, I had the pleasure to interview Paolo Tarolli, a very active member of the EGU community and a brilliant scientist. He is Professor in Water Resources Management and Integrated Watershed Management, and head of Earth Surface Processes and Society research group at the Università degli Studi di Padova (Italy). He has a PhD in Environmental Watershed Management and Geomatics and has worked as academic staff at the Università degli Studi di Padova since 2011. He was Visiting Professor at several universities (e.g. China University of Geosciences, Guangzhou University, National Cheng Kung University, EPFL), and Adjunct Professor at University of Georgia and Università Politecnica delle Marche.

Paolo Tarolli is also very active in science dissemination, being Executive Editor of the open access journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS) and Science Officer of the Natural Hazards division (NH6 remote sensing & hazards) at the European Geosciences Union (EGU). He is also a member of the European Geosciences Union, the American Geophysical Union, and the British Society for Geomorphology.

His fields of expertise include digital terrain analysis, earth surface processes analysis, natural hazards, geomorphology, hydro-geomorphology, lidar, structure-from-motion photogrammetry; new research directions include the analysis of topographic signatures of human activities from local to regional scale.

1) Humans are having an increasing impact on the Earth, and the term Anthropocene is now commonly used to define the period we are living in to highlight the strong influence of human beings. How are humans shaping the Earth?

 

Conceptual diagram of long-term changes in sociocultural systems, cultural inheritances, societal scale, energy use and anthropogenic geomorphic features (source: Tarolli et al. 2019, Progress in Physical Geography, doi:10.1177/0309133318825284)

Human societies have been reshaping the geomorphology of landscapes for thousands of years, producing anthropogenic geomorphic features ranging from earthworks and ditches to settlements, agricultural terraces, ports, roads, canals, airports and constructed wetlands that have distinct characteristics compared with landforms produced by natural processes. Human societies are transforming the geomorphology of landscapes at increasing rates and scales across the globe. These anthropogenic patterns, directly and indirectly, alter Earth surface processes while reflecting the sociocultural conditions of the societies that produced them. In my recent paper published in Progress in Physical Geography[1] (a research collaboration with some colleagues with a different background, e.g. geomorphology, ecology and archaeology), we introduced the concept of “sociocultural fingerprints”. We connected the novel Earth system processes provided by the emergence and evolution of human societies with their continuous shaping and reshaping of Earth’s geomorphology from the deep past into the foreseeable future. We underlined the opportunity to recognize the geomorphic signatures of sociocultural fingerprints across Earth’s land surface using high-resolution remote sensing[2] combined with a theoretical framework that integrates the natural and sociocultural forces that have and will shape the landscapes of the Anthropocene. Doing so, the long-term dynamics of anthropogenic landscapes can be more effectively investigated and understood, towards more sustainable management of the Earth system.

[Read More]

Job matchmaking in the water sector

Job matchmaking in the water sector

Sooner or later in your career, you have turned lunch breaks, entire weekends or nights into a job search. Looking for a job can be like dating: it can either be an easy going match, quickly finding the right job position for you, or it might be a long and unsatisfying search over millions of websites. The climax arises if you want to use your past research expertise into something new, a multidisciplinary professional experience (especially outside academia). So then, the issue: googling the keywords of your dream job, the ‘what’ and the ‘where’. Frustration, frustration and frustration. Until you find it, Josh’s Water Jobs! A collection of water-related job positions worldwide, jumping from NGOs, UN consultancies, PhD/Post-doc with a turnover of new posts almost every day.

This interview is to introduce who saved our endless searches, giving us the chance to apply for a position that, probably, we would have never found alone. I am presenting Dr Joshua Newton.

1) Hello Josh, can you please tell us something about you, your background and actual employment?

Some years ago, my Bachelor’s degree focused on international hydropolitics and I ended up working on transboundary water issues for about a decade, although I still do some work on the subject from time to time. In the middle of my PhD, which was focused on transboundary cooperation, I did what was supposed to be a short-term consultancy at UNESCO on the Ministerial Process of the 5th World Water Forum in Istanbul that turned into two years. During that time, I asked myself the question why this Process was the only platform we had at the global level to discuss water. So I ended up switching my PhD to focus on global water governance, macro-level thinking on how countries interact at the global level over water, basically within the United Nations system. And I’ve been working on global political processes related to water with a variety of organizations ever since.

I’m currently a half-time staff member at the Global Water Partnership (GWP) in Stockholm, Sweden and then I freelance the other 50% of the time. And, of course, my major hobby is the website.

[Read More]