Charles J. Vörösmarty, Ph.D.

  • Director, Environmental Sciences Initiative
  • Director, Environmental Crossroads Group
  • Professor of Civil Engineering, The City College of New York

Charles J. Vörösmarty, Ph.D., is the Founding Director of the Environmental Sciences Initiative at the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center. Dr. Vörösmarty’s research focuses on the development of computer models and geospatial data sets used in synthesis studies of interactions linking the water cycle, climate, biogeochemistry and anthropogenic activities. He has modeled local, regional, and continental to global-scale dynamics of water balance, discharge, and constituent fluxes in river systems, including assessments of the impact of large scale water engineering on the terrestrial water cycle. His work on human-water interactions includes analysis of databases depicting reservoir construction worldwide and how they generate downstream coastal zone risks, global threats to human water security and aquatic biodiversity, and the use of natural capital and engineering to realize global water security. His recent work focuses on the capacity of traditional engineering (gray) and nature-based (green) infrastructure to contribute to the performance of Food-Energy-Water Systems (FEWS) as well as global water security more generally. In 2018, he helped lead a U.S.-Hungarian graduate student research project on sustainable regional re-development in western Hungary, where he continues to advise the government and academic partners on best combinations of nature-based, engineered, and human institutional infrastructures.

Dr. Vörösmarty has provided scientific guidance to a variety of U.S. and international water consortia. He has led numerous interdisciplinary study teams carrying out research on hydrology and water resource systems worldwide; strategic regional food-water-energy and environmental risks; and, strategies for combining engineering and natural capital for water resource security. From 2004-2015 he served as co-Chair of the Global Water System Project under the Earth System Partnership Program. He spearheaded efforts to develop global-scale indicators of water stress and worked with chief United Nations delegates who negotiated water-related Sustainable Development Goals. He served as consultant to the 24-agency United Nations World Water Assessment Programme and represented the International Council of Scientific Unions at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development meetings. Working with partners from UBS and the PGGM Dutch pension fund, he developed methods to use scientifically-based metrics on water resources to help guide sustainable investment strategies by the private sector.

In the U.S., he has served on a broad array of national panels. These have included the Arctic Research Commission (appointed by Presidents Bush and Obama), the NASA Earth Science Subcommittee, the National Research Council Committee on Hydrologic Science (as Chair), and the NRC Review Committee on the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

Before coming to the ASRC and The City College of New York, Dr. Vörösmarty was a Research Full Professor at the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space at the University of New Hampshire, where he was founder and director of its Water Systems Analysis Group from 1992 through 2008.


C.J. Vörösmarty, P.E. Campana, G. Jewitt, R. Lawford, and D. Wuebbles. Editorial: Food-energy-water systems: achieving climate resilience and sustainable development in the 21st century. Frontiers in Environmental Science, 2024, 11, 1334892.

E. Moors, C.J. Vörösmarty, G. Jewitt, and A.D. Cak. Accelerating Toward Water Security. Eos, 2023, 104.

J. Zhang, M. Chen, S. Gao, Z. Li, C.J. Vörösmarty, B.M. Fekete, A. Miara, and Y. Hong. Examining the policy, technology, and climate impacts on thermoelectric power production and river thermal pollution in the Midwest and Northeast of the United States. Frontiers in Environmental Science2023, 11.

N.E. Maxfield, R.A. Smith, J.W. Chang, A.W. Ando, T.-S. Lin, C.J. Vörösmarty, and J.-S. Shih. Modeling the impact of technology, management, and policy-related strategies and ecosystem services on Nitrogen Water Pollution in Northeast and Midwest United States in the context of Climate Change. Frontiers in Environmental Science2023, 11.

H.H. Bokhari, E. Najafi, J. Dawidowicz, L. Wuchen, N. Maxfield, C.J. Vörösmarty, B.M. Fekete, S. Sanyal, T.-S. Lin, A. Miara, and S. Tuler. Simulating Basin-scale Linkages of the Food-Energy-Water Nexus with Reduced Complexity ModelingFrontiers in Environmental Science2023, 11.

C.J. Vörösmarty, J.M. Melillo, D.J. Wuebbles, A.K. Jain, A.W. Ando, M. Chen, S. Tuler, R. Smith, D. Kicklighter, F. Corsi, B. Fekete, A. Miara, H.H. Bokhari, J. Chang, T.-S. Lin, N. Maxfield, S. Sanyal, and J. Zhang. Applying a Framework to Study Climate-induced Extremes on Food, Energy, and Water Systems (C-FEWS): The Role of Engineered and Natural Infrastructures, Technology, and Environmental Management in the U.S. Northeast and Midwest. Frontiers in Environmental Science2023, 11.

D.W. Kicklighter, T.-S. Lin, J. Zhang, M. Chen, C.J. Vörösmarty, A.K. Jain, and J.M. Melillo. Influence of forest infrastructure on the responses of ecosystem services to climate extremes in the Midwest and Northeast United States from 1980 to 2019Frontiers in Environmental Science2023, 11.

T.-S. Lin, S. H.S. Kheshgi, S. Yang, C.J. Vörösmarty, and A.K. Jain. Which Crop Has the Highest Bioethanol Yield in the United States of America? Frontiers in Environmental Science2023, 11.

C.J. Vörösmarty, J.M. Melillo, D.J. Wuebbles, A.K. Jain, A.W. Ando, M. Chen, S. Tuler, R. Smith, D. Kicklighter, F. Corsi, B. Fekete, A. Miara, H.H. Bokhari, J. Chang, T.-S. Lin, N. Maxfield, S. Sanyal, J. Zhang, and D. Vignoles. The C-FEWS framework: Supporting studies of climate-induced extremes on food, energy, and water systems at the regional scale. Frontiers in Environmental Science, 2023, 11.

S.P. Tuler, T. Webler, R. Hansen, C.J. Vörösmarty, J.M. Melillo, and D. Wuebbles. Prospects and challenges of regional modeling frameworks to inform planning for food, energy, and water systems: Views of modelers and stakeholdersFrontiers in Environmental Science2023, 11.

J. Syvitski, J.R. Ángel, Y. Saito, I. Overeem, C.J. Vörösmarty, H. Wang, and D. Olago. Earth’s sediment cycle during the Anthropocene. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, 2022, 3, 179–196.

B.R. Scanlon, S. Fakhreddine, A. Rateb, I. de Graaf, J. Famiglietti, T. Gleeson, R.Q. Grafton, E. Jobbagy, S. Kebede, S.R. Kolusu, L.F. Konikow, D. Long, M. Mekonnen, H.M. Schmied, A. Mukherjee, A. MacDonald, R.C. Reedy, M. Shamsudduha, C.T. Simmons, A. Sun, R.G. Taylor, K.G. Villholth, C.J. Vörösmarty, and C. Zheng. Global water resources and the role of groundwater in a resilient water futureNature Reviews Earth & Environment, 2023, 4, 87–101.

N.A. Alcantar, S. Banta, A.D. Cak, X. Chen, C. DelRe, L.F. Deravi, J.S. Dordick, B.M. Giebel, D. Greenfield, P.M. Groffman, M. Holford, G. John, N.S. Joshi, N.A. Kotov, J. K. Montclare, B.S. Moore, J.H. Ortony, A.B. Reinmann, J. Son, R.E. Stark, R.V. Ulijn, C.J. Vörösmarty, C.J. Wilson, Bioinspired Green Science and Technology Symposium in NYC, Matter, 2022, 5, 7, 1980-1984.

A. Maharjan, P.M. Groffman, C.J. Vörösmarty, M. Tzortziou, X. Tang, and P.A. Green. Sources of terrestrial nitrogen and phosphorus mobilization in South and South East Asian coastal ecosystems. Watershed Ecology and the Environment, 2022, 4, 12-31.

C.J. Vörösmarty, B. Stewart-Koster, P.A. Green, E.L. Boone, M. Flörke, Günther Fischer, D.A. Wiberg, S.E. Bunn, A. Bhaduri, P.B. McIntyre, C.Sadoff, H. Liu, and D. Stifel. A Green-Gray Path to Global Water Security and Sustainable Infrastructure. Global Environmental Change, 2021, 70, 102344.

C. Martinez-Espinosa, S. Sauvage, A. Al Bitarb, P.A. Green, C.J. Vörösmarty, J.M. Sanchez-Pereza. Denitrification in Wetlands: A Review Towards a Quantification at Global Scale. Science of the Total Environment, 2020, 754, 142398.

A. Miara, S.M. Cohen, J. Macknick, C.J. Vörösmarty, F. Corsi, Y. Sun, V.C. Tidwell, R. Newmark, and B.M. Fekete. Climate-Water Adaptation for Future US Electricity Infrastructure. Environmental Science & Technology, 2019, 53, 14029-14040.

C.J. Vörösmarty, V. Rodríguez Osuna, A.D. Cak, A. Bhaduri, S.E. Bunn, F. Corsi, J. Gastelumendi, P. Green, I. Harrison, R. Lawford, P.J. Marcotullio, M. McClain, R. McDonald, P. McIntyre, M. Palmer, R.D. Robarts, A. Szöllösi-Nagy, Z. Tessler, and S. Uhlenbrook. Ecosystem-Based Water Security and the Sustainable Development Goals. Ecohydrology & Hydrobiology, 2018, 18, 317-333.

C. Vörösmarty, M. Rawlins, L. Hinzman, J. Francis, M. Serreze, A. Liljedahl, K. McDonald, M. Piasecki, and R. Rich. Opportunities and Challenges in Arctic System Synthesis: A Consensus Report from the Arctic Research Community. City University of New York: New York, NY, 2018.
Produced with funding from the National Science Foundation Arctic System Science Program.

A. Miara, C.J. Vörösmarty, J.E. Macknick, V.C. Tidwell, B. Fekete, F. Corsi, and R. Newmark. Thermal Pollution Impacts on Rivers and Power Supply in the Mississippi River Watershed. Environmental Research Letters, 2018, 13, 3, 034033.

Z.D. Tessler, C.J. Vörösmarty, I. Overeem, and J.P.M. Syvitski. A Model of Water and Sediment Balance as Determinants of Relative Sea Level Rise in Contemporary and Future Deltas. Geomorphology, 2018, 305, 209-220.

C.J. Vörösmarty, V. Rodríguez Osuna, D.A. Koehler, P. Klop, J.D. Spengler, J.J. Buonocore, A.D. Cak, Z.D. Tessler, F. Corsi, P. A. Green, and R. Sánchez. Scientifically Assess Impacts of Sustainable Investments. Science, 2018, 359, 6375, 523-525.

A. Miara, J.E. Macknick, C.J. Vörösmarty, V.C. Tidwell, R. Newmark, and B. Fekete. Climate and Water Resource Change Impacts and Adaptation Potential for US Power Supply. Nature Climate Change, 2017, 7, 793-798.

N. Ehsani, C.J. Vörösmarty, B.M. Fekete, and E.Z. Stakhiv. Reservoir Operations under Climate Change: Storage Capacity Options to Mitigate Risk. Journal of Hydrology, 2017, 555, 4325-446.

Y. Wada, M.F.P. Bierkens, A. de Roo, P.A. Dirmeyer, J.S. Famiglietti, N. Hanasaki, M. Konar, J. Liu, H. Müller Schmied, T. Oki, Y. Pokhrel, M. Sivapalan, T.J. Troy, A.I.J.M. van Dijk, T. van Emmerik, M.H.J. Van Huijgevoort, H.A.J. Van Lanen, C.J. Vörösmarty, N. Wanders, and H. Wheater. Human–Water Interface in Hydrological Modelling: Current Status and Future Directions. Hydrology and Earth Systems Sciences, 2017, 21, 4169-4193.

J. Richter-Menge, J. E. Overland, and J. T. Mathis, Eds. C.J. Vörösmarty, Co-Author. Arctic Report Card 2016. NOAA.

P. Green, K. Smith, S. Barchiesi, C. Vörösmarty, W. Darwall, D. Allen, J. Dalton, and I. Dopson. Chapter 3.4: Ecosystems. In Transboundary River Basins: Status and Trends. UNEP-DHI and UNEP, United Nations Environment Programme: Nairobi, 2016, 87-107.

M. Flörke, P. Green, C. Schneider, and C. Vörösmarty. Chapter 3.2: Water Quantity. In Transboundary River Basins: Status and Trends. UNEP-DHI and UNEP United Nations Environment Programme: Nairobi, 2016, 47-62.

A. Bhaduri, J. Bogardi, A. Siddiqi, H. Voigt, C. Vörösmarty, C. Pahl-Wostl, S.E. Bunn, P. Shrivastava, R. Lawford, S. Foster, H. Kremer, F.G. Renaud, A. Bruns, and V.R. Osuna. Achieving Sustainable Development Goals from a Water PerspectiveFrontiers in Environmental Science2016.

I.J. Harrison, P.A. Green, T.A. Farrell, D. Juffe-Bignoli, L. Sáenz, and C.J. Vörösmarty. Protected Areas and Freshwater Provisioning: A Global Assessment of Freshwater Provision, Threats and Management Strategies to Support Human Water Security. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems2016, 26 (Suppl. 1), 103-120.

Z.D. Tessler, C.J. Vörösmarty, M. Grossberg, I. Gladkova, and H. Aizenman. A Global Empirical Typology of Anthropogenic Drivers of Environmental Change in Deltas. Sustainability Science2016, 11, 525–537.

M. Konar, T.P. Evans, M. Levy, C.A. Scott, T.J. Troy, C.J. Vörösmarty, and M. Sivapalan. Water Resources Sustainability in a Globalizing World: Who Uses The Water? Hydrological Processes2016, 30, 18, 3330-3336.

C.J. Vörösmarty, P.A. Davidsson, M.A.K. Muir, R.W. Sandford, editors. Motivating Research on the Science Communications Front: Conveying the Nature and Impacts of Rapid Change in Ice-Dominated Earth Systems to Decision Makers and the Public. 2015. Summary of findings from an NSF-Funded International Workshop hosted by the World Bank.

P.A. Green, C.J. Vörösmarty, I. Harrison, T. Farrell, L. Saenz, and B.M. Fekete. Freshwater Ecosystem Services Supporting Humans: Pivoting from Water Crisis to Water Solutions. Global Environmental Change2015, 34, 108-118.

N. Ehsani, B.M. Fekete, C.J. Vörösmarty, and Z.D. Tessler. A Neural Network Based General Reservoir Operation Scheme. Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment2015, 30, 4, 1151-1166.

Z.D. Tessler, C.J. Vörösmarty, M. Grossberg, I. Gladkova, H. Aizenman, J.P.M. Syvitski, and E. Foufoula-Georgiou. Profiling Risk and Sustainability in Coastal Deltas of the World. Science2015, 349, 6248, 638-643.

C.J. Vörösmarty, A.Y. Hoekstra, S.E. Bunn, D. Conway, and J. Gupta. Fresh Water Goes Global. Science2015, 349, 6247, 478-479.

C.J. Vörösmarty, M. Meybeck, and C.L. Pastore. Impair-Then-Repair: A Brief History and Global-Scale Hypothesis Regarding Human-Water Interactions in the Anthropocene. Daedalus2015, 144, 3, 94-109.

R.L. Hale, N.B. Grimm, C.J. Vörösmarty, and B. Fekete. Nitrogen and Phosphorus Fluxes from Watersheds of the Northeast U.S. from 1930-2000: Role of Anthropogenic Nutrient Inputs, Infrastructure, and Runoff. Global Biogeochemical Cycles2015, 29, 3, 341-356.

A. Miara, C. Tarr, R. Spellman, C.J. Vörösmarty, and J.E. Macknick. The Power of Efficiency: Optimizing Environmental and Social Benefits Through Demand-Side-Management. Energy, 2014, 76, 502-512.

E.J. Linky, C.J. Vörösmarty, and B. Rosenzweig. Regional Environmental Analytics: Emerging Research Needs to Support RGGI, State, and Local Planning and Regulatory Programs. ABA Climate Change, Sustainable Development, and Ecosystems Committee Newsletter, 2014, 17, 3, 18-21.

B. Rosenzweig, C. Vörösmarty, W. Gutowski, and A.L. Steiner. Joining Scientists and Stakeholders in Regional Earth System Modeling. Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, 2014, 95, 27, 247-248.

C.J. Vörösmarty, C. Pahl-Wostl, S.E. Bunn, and R. Lawford. Global Water, the Anthropocene and the Transformation of a Science. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 2013, 5, 539-550.

C.J. Vörösmarty, C. Pahl-Wostl, and A. Bhaduri. Water in the Anthropocene: New Perspectives for Global Sustainability. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 2013, 5, 535-538.

C. Pahl-Wostl, C. Vörösmarty, A. Bhaduri, J. Bogardi, J. Rockstrom, and J. Alcamo. Towards a Sustainable Water Future: Shaping the Next Decade of Global Water Research. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 2013, 5, 6, 708-714.

J.J. Bogardi, B.M. Fekete, and C.J. Vörösmarty. Planetary Boundaries Revisited: A View Through the ‘Water Lens’. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 2013, 5, 581-589.

C.J. Vörösmarty, L. Bravo de Guenni, W.M. Wollheim, B. Pellerin, D. Bjerklie, M. Cardoso, C. D’Almeida, P. Green, and L. Colon. Extreme Rainfall, Vulnerability and Risk: A Continental-Scale Assessment for South America. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 2013, 371, 20120408.

A. Miara and C.J. Vörösmarty. Balancing Thermoelectric Power Production and Thermal Pollution: Power Plant Cooling Specification/Decision-Making Guide. In Thermal Power Plant Cooling: Context and Engineering. C. King, EdASME Press: New York, NY, 2013, 22-27.

R.L. Hale, J.H. Hoover, W.M. Wollheim, and C.J. Vörösmarty. History of Nutrient Inputs to the Northeastern United States, 1930-2000. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 2013, 27, 2, 578-591.

A. Miara, C.J. Vörösmarty, R. Stewart, W. Wollheim, and B. Rosenzweig. Riverine Ecosystem Services and the Thermoelectric Sector: Strategic Issues Facing the Northeastern United States. Environmental Research Letters, 2013, 8, 025017. Special Issue on Electricity, Water and Climate.

P.H. Gleick, H. Cooley, J.S. Famiglietti, D.P. Lettenmaier, T. Oki, C.J. Vörösmarty, and E.F. Wood. Improving Understanding of the Global Hydrologic Cycle: Observation and Analysis of the Climate System: The Global Water Cycle. In Climate Science for Serving Society: Research, Modeling and Prediction Priorities. G.R. Asrar and J.W. Hurrell, Eds. Spinger: Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 2013, 151-184.

R.J. Stewart, W.M. Wollheim, A. Miara, C.J. Vörösmarty, B. Fekete, R. Lammers, and B. Rosenzweig. Horizontal Cooling Towers: Riverine Ecosystem Services and the Fate of Thermoelectric Heat in the Contemporary Northeast. Environmental Research Letters, 2013, 8, 025010.

A. Miara and C.J. Vörösmarty. A Dynamic Model to Assess Tradeoffs in Power Production and Riverine Ecosystem Protection. Environmental Science Processes and Impacts, 2013, 15, 1113-1126.