Wang Erlandsson





Profile summary

  • Freshwater’s role for Earth system resilience
  • Planetary boundaries and safe operating space
  • Land-water feedbacks, such as through moisture recycling and ecosystem rooting adaptation
  • Water-induced tipping points
  • Teleconnected water resilience risks
  • Freshwater’s role in climate change mitigation

Lan Wang-Erlandsson’s research focuses on the large-scale interactions between land, water, and climate, and their implications for resilience

Wang-Erlandsson studies the role of water for social-ecological and Earth system resilience. What is the role of land-use for sustaining the water cycle? How does freshwater provide resilience for society and ecosystems at the local to global scale? What are the synergies and trade-offs between land, climate, and water related policy interventions?

She leads two interdisciplinary research projects, one that analyses Sweden’s exposure to water resilience risks in the Anthropocene (in collaboration with Princeton University and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who are part of the Earth Resilience and Sustainability Initiative), and another that investigates integrative forest-agriculture solutions for securing rainfall for crop production in Africa (in collaboration with Wageningen University). She also contributes to research on Earth resilience and integrated assessments as part the international research projects “WorldTrans – Transparent Assessment for real people” and “Earth Resilience in Anthropocene”. Previously, she was also a coordinator of a research consortium “Ripples of Resilience: navigating cross-scale SDG interactions of water, land, and climate within planetary boundaries” (2019-2020). She was also a co-editor and one of the authors of the landmark report “The essential drop to net-zero: Unpacking freshwater’s role in climate change mitigation” led by Stockholm International Water Institute, launched at COP27 (2022).

She works quantitatively with models and data analyses, as well as qualitatively with conceptual developments. In her data analyses, she often uses employs remote sensing, reanalyses and other global-scale data products related to water, land, and climate. For simulations of the water cycle, she uses the global hydrological model STEAM that she developed during her PhD studies (Wang-Erlandsson et al., 2014), and the atmospheric moisture tracking model Water Accounting Model-2layers (WAM-2layers) (van der Ent et al. 2010, 2014). Conceptual developments that she has contributed to include a proposal for a planetary boundary for green water (Wang-Erlandsson et al., 2022), moisture recycling as an ecosystem service (Keys et al., 2016), and water resilience functions (Falkenmark et al., 2019).

Wang Erlandsson earned her PhD degree in global hydrology from Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands) in September 2017 from her thesis titled “Root for Rain: towards understanding land-use change impacts on the water cycle”. Her MSc degree in Civil Engineering and Natural Resources Management is from KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm, Sweden). Wang Erlandsson also has experience from an internship at Stockholm Environment Institute, and worked as an environmental consultant in Sweden. Before joining SRC, Wang was a Japanese Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS) postdoctoral fellow at the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (Kyoto, Japan).


Chandrakant Singh, PhD candidate

Agnes Pranindita, PhD candidate

Key publications

Wang-Erlandsson, L., Tobian, A., van der Ent, R.J., Fetzer, I., te Wierik, S., Porkka, M., Staal, A., Jaramillo, F., Dahlmann, H., Singh, C., Greve, P., Gerten, D., Keys, P.W., Gleeson, T., Cornell, S.E., Steffen, W., Bai, X., & Rockström, J. (2022) A planetary boundary for green water. Nat Rev Earth Environ 3, 380–392.

Singh, C., van der Ent R., Wang-Erlandsson, L., Fetzer, I., (2022) Hydroclimatic adaptation critical to the resilience of tropical forests Global Change Biology, 00, 1-10.

Wang-Erlandsson, L., Fetzer, I., Keys, P. W., van der Ent, R. J., Savenije, H. H. G., and Gordon, L. J. (2018): Remote land use impacts on river flows through atmospheric teleconnections, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. 22, 4311-4328.

Keys PW, Wang-Erlandsson L, Gordon LJ (2016): Revealing Invisible Water: Moisture Recycling as an Ecosystem Service. PLoS One 11(3):e0151993.

Wang-Erlandsson L, Bastiaanssen, W. G. M., Gao, H., Jägermeyr, J., Senay, G. B., van Dijk, A. I. J. M., Guerschman, J. P., Keys, P. W., Gordon, L. J., and Savenije, H. H. G. (2016): Global root zone storage capacity from satellite-based evaporation. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 20(4):1459–1481.

See all publications

Publications by Wang-Erlandsson, Lan