The future of HEPEX: 100 years from now

Contributed by Florian Pappenberger and Maria-Helena Ramos


The crystal ball of hydrological forecasting

Soon we will be celebrating 10 years of HEPEX and other posts have already highlighted what we have achieved. Our Science and Implementation plan also lists past achievements and looks into the immediate (3-5 years) future.

The scientist and fiction writer Isaac Asmiov was brave (or foolish) enough to look what may happen 50 years in the future (for details see here). For 2014, he predicted: electroluminescent panels, new tools of communication, new ways to use screens, the role of robots in society, novel kitchen tools,  new lighting, the world population, curriculum subjects in schools, wireless electricity supply or a society of enforced leisure.

In 2012, the twenty top predictions for life in 100 years time included: immortal humans, a full control over the weather, computers wired into the brain, only three world languages (English, Mandarin and Spanish) and a revolution in Britain.

One can smile about such predictions, but they do play a role in shaping the future. For example, if you wouldn’t believe that computers wired into a brain will be possible or socially acceptable, one would properly not invest into it at all.

It comes at no surprise that hydrologists also try to read the crystal ball, may it be concerning the role of hydrological journals or hydrology more generally (see this journal article or this EGU discussion in 2012)

So, what will HEPEX and its associated sciences look like in the future? What do you think we will have achieved in 100 years?

Please, leave a comment here or tweet with hashtag #hepex100

There is just one rule: it has to be one sentence of less than 20 words or 140 characters!

And given that we are all immortal, maybe in 100 years we can comment and evaluate our predictions! So, why not assign a likelihood to your prediction?




  1. We will finally begin to learn how to use probabilistic forecasts to make better management decisions in the public sector

  2. FF tools will activate a rapture device to lift people, their homes and possessions from flooded areas. From above, they will enjoy the beauty of the forces of nature.

  3. a) More research will be needed to cope with uncertainties
    b) Clean, safe and cheap energy will be available (but not from hydropower …)

  4. C) of course we will have better estimates of floods with return period of 100 years

  5. 1) Do you remember the “2012” movie, where there is one scene of a flood forecasting system with a countdown? And the flood wave arrives exactly at 00:00?

    2) Ok… I do not expect exactly this, but I expect developments in terms of processes representation by the use of very high resolution remote sensing products.

    3) Also, I expect very fancy operational interfaces in forecasting systems, with optimized ways of showing results (but not a countdown… hehehehe…).

  6. Everyone will adopt a universal language and format for exchanging data. I predict this format will be called “E.S.P.E.R.A.N.T.O.”

  7. In 100 years ‘automatic’ water control systems will ‘directly’ use long-term earth-system forecasts to manage water risks, avoiding flooding and drought impacts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.