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. Dr. Vörösmarty’s research focuses on the development of computer models and geospatial data sets used in synthesis studies of the interactions among the water cycle, climate, biogeochemistry and anthropogenic activities. His studies are built around local, regional and continental to global-scale modeling of water balance, discharge, constituent fluxes in river systems and the analysis of the impacts of large-scale water engineering on the terrestrial water cycle. His work on human-water interactions includes earth system modeling of the Northeastern United States, development and analysis of databases depicting reservoir construction worldwide and how they generate downstream coastal zone risks, and global threats to human water security and aquatic biodiversity.

Dr. Vörösmarty routinely provides scientific guidance to a variety of U.S. and international water consortia. He is a founding member and current co-Chair of the Global Water System Project that represents the input of several hundred international scientists under the International Council for Science’s Global Environmental Change Programs. He is spearheading efforts to develop global-scale indicators of water stress and is working with chief United Nations delegates who are negotiating the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Goals. He has served on a broad array of national panels, including the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (appointed by Presidents Bush and Obama), the NASA Earth Science Subcommittee, the National Research Council Committee on Hydrologic Science as Chair, a member of the NRC Review Committee on the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the National Science Foundation’s Arctic System Science Program Committee, and the Arctic HYDRA International Polar Year Planning Team. He was a 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.

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.


A. Miara, S.M. Cohen, J. Macknick, C.J. Vörösmarty, F. Corsi, Y. Sun, V.C. Tidwell, R. Newmark, B.M. Fekete. Climate-Water Adaptation for Future US Electricity Infrastructure. 2019, Environ. Sci. Technol.

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. DOI: 10.1126/science.aao3895.

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. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecohyd.2018.07.004.

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. New York, NY. City University of New York. 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. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/aaac85.

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. DOI: 10.5194/hess-21-4169-2017.

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, 2017, 305, 209-220. DOI: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2017.09.040.

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. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate3417.

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 Science, 2016, 1-13. DOI: 10.1007/s11625-016-0357-5.

J. Richter-Menge, J. E. Overland, and J. T. Mathis, editors. C.J. Vörösmarty, co-author. Arctic Report Card 2016. NOAA.

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 Processes, 2016. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.10843.

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 Ecosystems, 2016, 26 (Suppl. 1), 103-120. DOI: 10.1002/aqc.2652.

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

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

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 perspective. Frontiers in Environmental Science, 2016. DOI: 10.3389/fenvs.2016.00064.

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. Daedalus, 2015, 144, 3, 94-109. DOI: 10.1162/DAED_a_00345.

C.J. Vörösmarty, A.Y. Hoekstra, S.E. Bunn, D. Conway, and J. Gupta. Fresh water goes global. Science, 2015, 349, 6247, 478-479. DOI: 10.1126/science.aac6009.

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.

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. Science, 2015, 349, 6248, 638-643. DOI: 10.1126/science.aab3574.

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 Cycles, 2015. DOI: 10.1002/2014GB004909.

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 Change, 2015, 34, 108-118. DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.06.007

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 Assessment, 2015, 30, 4, 1151-1166. DOI: 10.1007/s00477-015-1147-9.

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. DOI: 10.1002/2014EO270005.

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. DOI: 10.1016/

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.

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. DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2012.0408.

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. DOI: 10.1016/j.cosust.2013.10.005.

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. DOI: 10.1016/j.cosust.2013.11.011.

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. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/025010.

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. DOI: 10.1016/j.cosust.2013.10.012.

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. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/025017.

A. Miara and C.J. Vörösmarty. C. King, editor. Balancing thermoelectric power production and thermal pollution: Power plant cooling specification/decision-making guide. Thermal Power Plant Cooling: Context and Engineering, 2013, 22-27, ASME Press, New York, NY.

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. DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00196B

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. DOI: 10.1002/gbc.20049.

P.H. Gleick, H. Cooley, J.S. Famiglietti, D.P. Lettenmaier, T. Oki, C.J. Vörösmarty, and E.F. Wood. G.R. Asrar and J.W. Hurrell, editors. Improving understanding of the global hydrologic cycle: Observation and analysis of the climate system: The global water cycle. Climate Science for Serving Society: Research, Modeling and Prediction Priorities, 2013, 151-184, Spinger, Dordrecht, The Netherlands. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-6692-1_6

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. DOI: 10.1016/j.cosust.2013.10.006