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The Past, Present and Future of Drought

Springer Nature | Andrea Toreti, Monica Ionita, Yanhua Chen, Luis Samaniego

We need to talk about water – or, more precisely, the lack of it!

Several parts of the world have seen yet another dry summer.  Understanding drought has become more relevant than ever.  Nature Water, a new Nature Portfolio journal launching in January 2023, presents a panel discussion entitled “The past, present and future of drought” as part of Berlin Science Week.

The panel, composed of renowned experts on climate science, will discuss several key aspects:

Droughts and climate change. Understanding past patterns from paleoclimate records,
Droughts and human activities. How droughts affect agriculture, energy production, shipping and other sectors,
The future. How will scientists, practitioners and policy-makers tackle drought-associated challenges.


Dr. Monica Ionita, Alfred Wegener Institute
Dr. Luis Samaniego, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ
Dr. Andrea Toreti, European Commission’s Joint Research Centre

Moderation: Dr. Yanhua Chen, Associate Editor, Nature Water



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Andrea Toreti

European Commission's Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy

European Commission and Joint Research Centre

Andrea is a senior scientist at the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC), where he leads the Copernicus EMS European and Global Drought Observatories. He graduated in Mathematics at the University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ and got a Ph.D. in Climate Sciences at the University of Bern. Andrea is an expert on climate extremes, climate change, climate variability and their impacts, especially in the agricultural sector. He got several awards for his work on climate extremes, climate change impacts and adaptation in the Euro-Mediterranean region. Andrea is currently a member of the MedCLIVAR steering committee, co-chair of the modelling group of the ITU-WMO-UNEP Focus Group on AI for Natural Disaster Management, and co-chair of the EU ad-hoc Task Group on Water Scarcity and Drought.

Monica Ionita

Alfred Wegener Institut

Senior Scientist, Paleoclimate Dynamics, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research

Dr. Monica Ionita is a senior researcher at the Institute for Marine and Polar Research, Bremerhaven, Germany. She holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Bremen and she is a meteorologist by education. Dr. Ionita works on diverse research topics, from monthly to seasonal streamflow prediction, statistical analysis of climate variability and predictability, hydroclimatology to climate reconstruction based on proxy data, Arctic and Antarctic Sea ice prediction, and ocean circulation and dynamics. Currently, she is in charge of maintaining and further improving a monthly to seasonal statistical forecasting system for low flow periods in central Europe. Dr. Ionita is also actively involved in science transfer and communication activities.

Yanhua Chen

Nature Water

Associate Editor, Nature Water

Yanhua joined Nature Water as an Associate Editor in March 2022, after two and a half years working at the Paul Scherrer Institute. Yanhua completed her PhD at the Paul Scherrer Institute and the University of Bern. She then moved to Japan for a postdoc at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency. Her research over the past nine years focused on the geochemistry relevant to the geological disposal of radioactive waste. She received her master’s degree in environmental engineering from ETH Zürich, where she focused on water resources management and soil protection. Yanhua is based in Shanghai, China.

Luis Samaniego

Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung (UFZ)

Senior Scientist, Computational Hydrosystems, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research and University of Potsdam

Luis Samaniego (Prof. Dr.) is research scientist at the Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ in Leipzig and Professor for Data Science and Hydrology at the University of Potsdam. He received the B.S. degree in civil engineering from the Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Quito (1991), the M.S. degree (1997) and the Ph.D. degree (2003) from the University of Stuttgart, where he focused on hydrological modeling and the consequences of land cover change. His Habilitation was on the field of hydrology at the University of Potsdam (2021). Since 2013, Dr. Samaniego is the deputy­head of Department Computational Hydrosystems. Dr. Samaniego’s scientific focus in the last fifteen years has been the development and evaluation of a robust and efficiently distributed hydrologic model (mHM) having regionalized parameters to ease the transferability of model parameters to ungauged locations and across scales. Currently, he concentrates on developing monitoring and forecasting for droughts and floods from national to global scale. He is the co-developer of the German Drought Monitor. Since 2010, Dr. Samaniego is Associate Editor of Water Resources Research (AGU), and Editor of HESS.

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