A macroeconomics-inspired interpretation of the terrestrial water cycle

Ungvári, Gábor and Kis, András (2019) A macroeconomics-inspired interpretation of the terrestrial water cycle. WIREs Water, 2019 (6). pp. 1-13. DOI

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This article develops an approach that applies macroeconomic concepts to the interpretation of complex, water related natural processes. By translating and reinterpreting these processes into a language that is more accessible to a broader audience otherwise unaccustomed to its terms will likely help sharpen our understanding of the terrestrial water cycle. For economists, we describe climate-forming natural processes in a manner consistent with the fundamentals of the mainstream approach. For noneconomists, parallels from economically determined, relatively short-term observations can be applied conceptually to identify dynamics which occur over much longer and therefore more elusive natural occurrences, in particular considering the role of forests and how persistent land conversion over a millennium has shaped the earth's surface and impacted climate stability. The set of “supporting ecosystem services” highlighted in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) coincides with the ground phase of the terrestrial water cycle, taking the concept beyond the ecosystem service perspective and identifying it as a planetary service. Ecosystem and planetary services differ in the same way that microeconomic and macroeconomic perspectives do. The water cycle intensity of a geographical area may well be related to a rainfall multiplier that measures the ability of continental ecosystems to increase the amount of water moving across terrestrial surfaces and descending as rainfall through transpiration and deposition, and re-transpiration and re-deposition of the water content in the air that originally arrives from the oceans. Building upon the MEA's association of human wellbeing with ecosystem features, the rainfall multiplier serves as a physical indicator and measure of the natural basis of wellbeing creation.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:ecosystem services, macroeconomics, water cycle
Subjects:Environmental economics
ID Code:5404
Deposited By: Veronika Vitéz
Deposited On:09 Apr 2020 14:32
Last Modified:09 Apr 2020 14:32

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