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Profile summary

  • Water as the bloodstream of the biosphere
  • Macroscale hydrology
  • Water security
  • Water crowding
  • African water predicament
  • Ecohydrology
  • Green and blue water

Malin Falkenmark's research focuses on green water, ecohydrology, hydrosolidarity and water resilience

Falkenmark is a future-oriented and interdisciplinarily water-related scientist, whom has published her work extensively in academic journals (some 25 articles co-authored with Johan Rockström). Her SRC-interests focus on landscape hydrology, ecohydrology, hydrosolidarity and water resilience. The latter was realized in a multi-author book, “Water resilience for human prosperity” (Rockström et al 2014).

In the mid 1980’s she introduced what has become a global yardstick for assessing water scarcity, the “Falkenmark index.” This was later followed by several pedagogical ways of framing the global water challenge, including “water crowding”, a log-log diagram that in two dimensions simultanously clarifies water scarcity predicaments, as well as green and blue water, now influencing work beyond the scientific arena, such as in policy discussions on integrated land-water resources management. Her green water analyses have been followed up by four generations of SU PhD dissertations (Johan Rockström (1997), Line Gordon (2003), Elin Enfors (2009), Patrick Keys (2016)). She is currently focussing on Sub-Saharan Africa’s water predicament, with focus on green water.

Falkenmark’s educational background is typical for the first generation of a new scientific sector: Fil Mag in mathematics, physics, chemistry, mechanics 1950 (Uppsala University); and Fil. Lic. in Hydrology where she studied “Bearing capacity of an ice sheet” (Uppsala University). Since 1986, she has held the position of Professor of Applied and International Hydrology.

Falkenmark’s main professions have been: 1) State Hydrologist at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (1950s-60’s). 2) Research Secretary at Natural Science Research Council (1965-95), Executive Secretary, and later Chair of the Swedish National Committees for the IHD/IHP. 3) Stockholm Water Company, now known as Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), (1991-2011) (scientific leadership of annual Stockholm Water Symposia/later World Water Week).

She has supervised a number of PhD students, and has also contributed to studies at Lund University’s Technical Water Resource Dept, (1970’s); Linköping University’s Water and Environmental Studies Department (1980-90’s); and Stockholm University’s Department of System’s Ecology and the Stockholm Resilience Centre (1991-current).

Falkenmark has held a number of positions in the policy sector. To name a few: Rapporteur General, UN Water Conference, Mar del Plata (1977); member of UN Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for Development (1998-2002); member of Technical Advisory Committee of Global Water Partnership (1997-2006); Editorial Committee member of numerous water journals (including Water Policy, Water International, International Journal of Water Resources Development).

She is also currently the senior scientific advisor to the general director of SIWI.

Some 20 of her most influential articles have been assembled in a five-section SRC-reader, ”New thinking on global water security: towards an ecohydrological perspective” (1. Land-water environment, 2. Water security, 3. Water pollution, 4. Water for food, 5. Water policies).

Awards and achievements:

  • Fil Dr honoris causa (1975), Linköping university; Techn Dr honoris causs (2000's), Lund University
  • KTH Stora Pris (1995)
  • Volvo Environment Prize (1998)
  • International Hydrology Prize (1998)
  • Rachel Carson Prize (2005)
  • Crystal Drop Award (2005)
  • Prince Albert II Award (2012)

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Publications by Falkenmark, Malin

Stockholm Resilience Centre is a collaboration between Stockholm University and the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

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