De Roo, Ad

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Ad de Roo 1963 – 2022


Ad de Roo grew up in Zeist in the Netherlands. He studied Physical Geography and obtained his PhD-degree in ‘Modelling surface runoff and soil erosion using Geographical Information Systems in 1993 at Utrecht University under the supervision of Peter Burrough. His PhD study area was Limburg, the southernmost province of the Netherlands with an undulating landscape and covered by loess deposits. Runoff, erosion and sediment nuisance downstream were local problems grabbing Ad’s attention and giving him inspiration.

Hydrological Achievements[edit]

Ad started the development of the LISEM (Limburg Soil Erosion Model) in 1989 as part of his PhD and it was first published in 1993. It was made for the waterboard of Limburg to help cope with erosion of farmland and downstream muddy floods in villages. Specifically it was used to simulate detailed conservation practices such as applying mulch and designing grass strips for the steeper slopes. The model has some innovative aspects that have survived in its current version 30 years later. LISEM is a spatial physically based model and was one of the first models written in a GIS scripting language, which later became PCRaster, and so it could easily use GIS raster-type maps. Following the influence of Ad, Paul Bates at Bristol University also used PCRaster to develop a flood inundation model for his PhD called LISFLOOD that was later developed for use world wide.

The LISEM project not only resulted in scientific articles on processes such as crusting in agricultural lands on Loess soils. It was directly used to define legislation, in cooperation with farmers, about preferred field lengths, the use of green intercrops and mulch between harvest and seeding and other regulations. After the project, Ad organised a global conference in 2005, inviting 5 model groups to use the Limburg dataset, and a South African dataset, to compare their model performance. Tests were done with and without calibration and validation, which triggered a series of research articles on strength and weaknesses of physically based modelling or, in Ad’s words, the sense and non-sense of believing too much in the model results. LISEM is still being used by the water board and more than 400 storm water buffers have been designed with it, integrated into the landscape of Limburg.

Ad was later one of the driving forces behind the development of the European Flood Alert System (EFAS, and the spatio-dynamic model LISFLOOD which is one of the computational engines behind EFAS. EFAS is an operational European system monitoring and forecasting floods across Europe. Ad started to work on EFAS when he was appointed as an expert in flood risk in September 1997 at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (EC-JRC) in Ispra, Italy. In 2002 the Elbe and Danube floods hit Europe and caused a considerable number of fatalities and economic damage. The European Commission followed the advice of Ad and others to further develop a system for continental flood forecasting to improve civil protection. This resulted in the end in the European Flood Awareness Systems now running operationally under the Copernicus Emergency Management Service (CEMS) since 2012 making the EU member states better prepared for flood hazards.

In 2011 his academic achievements resulted in an appointment as Professor nn ‘Hazards & Impact’ _at Utrecht University. He inspired many master and bachelor students with his work on studying and modelling hazards, impact and risk reduction. For years he actively contributed to the master course Hazards & Risk Assessment and lectured in many summer schools. Ad was also an inspiring and enthusiastic promotor of various PhD students working on flood modelling, on coupling remote sensing observations to models, on assessing rainfall volumes and intensity from microwave satellite sensors and on global flood modelling (GloFAS: Global Flood Awareness System).

Ad was a very active and positive Editor-in-Chief of Catena for many years, and as such he significantly contributed to the accumulation and dissemination of knowledge in the field of soil erosion modelling and hazards. With


Reference Material[edit]

The text in this entry has been edited from Steven de Jong, Victor Jetten, and Erik Cammeraat, A tribute to Professor Ad de Roo (1963–2022). A dedicated life for flood risk assessment, modelling & risk reduction, Catena 222 (2023) 106845

Selected Publications[edit]

(as ranked by Google Scholar)

PD Bates, APJ De Roo, A simple raster-based model for flood inundation simulation, Journal of hydrology 236 (1-2), 54-77, 2000

HE Beck, AIJM Van Dijk, V Levizzani, J Schellekens, DG Miralles, ... , MSWEP: 3-hourly 0.25 global gridded precipitation (1979–2015) by merging gauge, satellite, and reanalysis data, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 21 (1), 589-615, 2017

APJ De Roo, CG Wesseling, CJ Ritsema, LISEM: a single‐event physically based hydrological and soil erosion model for drainage basins. I: theory, input and output, Hydrological processes 10 (8), 1107-1117, 1996

EF Wood, JK Roundy, TJ Troy, LPH Van Beek, MFP Bierkens, E Blyth, ..., Hyperresolution global land surface modeling: Meeting a grand challenge for monitoring Earth's terrestrial water, Water Resources Research 47 (5), 2011

J Thielen, J Bartholmes, MH Ramos, A De Roo, The European flood alert system–part 1: concept and development, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 13 (2), 125-1405, 2009

JM Van Der Knijff, J Younis, APJ De Roo, LISFLOOD: a GIS‐based distributed model for river basin scale water balance and flood simulation, International Journal of Geographical Information Science 24 (2), 189-212, 2010

L Alfieri, B Bisselink, F Dottori, G Naumann, A de Roo, P Salamon, ..., Global projections of river flood risk in a warmer world, Earth's Future 5 (2), 171-182, 2017

CJ Van der Sande, SM De Jong, APJ De Roo, A segmentation and classification approach of IKONOS-2 imagery for land cover mapping to assist flood risk and flood damage assessment, International Journal of applied earth observation and geoinformation 4 (3), 217-229, 2003

V Jetten, AD De Roo, D Favis-Mortlock, Evaluation of field-scale and catchment-scale soil erosion models, Catena 37 (3-4), 521-541, 1999

APJ De Roo, CG Wesseling, WPA Van Deursen, Physically based river basin modelling within a GIS: the LISFLOOD model, Hydrological Processes 14 (11‐12), 1981-1992, 2000

F Pappenberger, KJ Beven, NM Hunter, PD Bates, BT Gouweleeuw, ..., Cascading model uncertainty from medium range weather forecasts (10 days) through a rainfall-runoff model to flood inundation predictions within the European Flood Forecasting System, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 9 (4), 381-393, 2005

SM De Jong, ML Paracchini, F Bertolo, S Folving, J Megier, APJ De Roo, Regional assessment of soil erosion using the distributed model SEMMED and remotely sensed data, Catena 37 (3-4), 291-308, 1999

V Thiemig, R Rojas, M Zambrano-Bigiarini, V Levizzani, A De Roo, Validation of satellite-based precipitation products over sparsely gauged African river basins, Journal of Hydrometeorology 13 (6), 1760-1783, 2012

MFP Bierkens, VA Bell, P Burek, N Chaney, LE Condon, CH David, ... Hyper‐resolution global hydrological modelling: what is next? “Everywhere and locally relevant” Hydrological processes 29 (2), 310-320, 2015

ADPJ De Roo, B Gouweleeuw, J Thielen, J Bartholmes, ..., Development of a European flood forecasting system, International Journal of River Basin Management 1 (1), 49-59, 2003

HE Beck, AIJM van Dijk, A De Roo, DG Miralles, TR McVicar, ..., Global‐scale regionalization of hydrologic model parameters, Water Resources Research 52 (5), 3599-3622, 2016

APJ De Roo, RJE Offermans, N Cremers, LISEM: A single‐event, physically based hydrological and soil erosion model for drainage basins. II: Sensitivity analysis, validation and application, Hydrological processes 10 (8), 1119-1126, 1996

N Wanders, D Karssenberg, A De Roo, SM De Jong, MFP Bierkens, The suitability of remotely sensed soil moisture for improving operational flood forecasting Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 18 (6), 2343-2357, 2014

D Vanham, AY Hoekstra, Y Wada, F Bouraoui, A De Roo, MM Mekonnen, ... Physical water scarcity metrics for monitoring progress towards SDG target 6.4: An evaluation of indicator 6.4. 2 “Level of water stress”, Science of the total environment 613, 218-232, 2018

V Thiemig, R Rojas, M Zambrano-Bigiarini, A De Roo, Hydrological evaluation of satellite-based rainfall estimates over the Volta and Baro-Akobo Basin, Journal of Hydrology 499, 324-338, 2013

APJ De Roo, L Hazelhoff, PA Burrough, Soil erosion modelling using ‘answers’ and geographical information systems, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 14 (6), 517-532,1989

A De Roo, M Odijk, G Schmuck, E Koster, A Lucieer, Assessing the effects of land use changes on floods in the Meuse and Oder catchment, Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Part B: Hydrology, Oceans and Atmosphere 26(7-8), 593-599, 2001

D Mentis, M Howells, H Rogner, A Korkovelos, C Arderne, E Zepeda, ..., Lighting the World: the first application of an open source, spatial electrification tool (OnSSET) on Sub-Saharan Africa, Environmental Research Letters 12 (8), 085003, 2017

APJ De Roo, VG Jetten, Calibrating and validating the LISEM model for two data sets from the Netherlands and South Africa, Catena 37 (3-4), 477-493, 1999

N Wanders, MFP Bierkens, SM de Jong, A de Roo, D Karssenberg, The benefits of using remotely sensed soil moisture in parameter identification of large‐scale hydrological models Water resources research 50 (8), 6874-6891, 2014

L Feyen, JA Vrugt, BÓ Nualláin, J van der Knijff, A De Roo Parameter optimisation and uncertainty assessment for large-scale streamflow simulation with the LISFLOOD model, Journal of Hydrology 332 (3-4), 276-289, 2007

T Busker, A de Roo, E Gelati, C Schwatke, M Adamovic, B Bisselink, ..., A global lake and reservoir volume analysis using a surface water dataset and satellite altimetry, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 23 (2), 669-690, 2019

J Boardman, L Ligneau, AD de Roo, K Vandaele, Flooding of property by runoff from agricultural land in northwestern Europe, Geomorphology and Natural Hazards, 183-196, 1994

Y Wada, MFP Bierkens, A De Roo, PA Dirmeyer, JS Famiglietti, ..., Human–water interface in hydrological modelling: current status and future directions, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 21 (8), 4169-4193, 2017

APJ De Roo, Modelling runoff and sediment transport in catchments using GIS, Hydrological processes 12 (6), 905-922, 1998

HE Beck, AIJM Van Dijk, A De Roo, E Dutra, G Fink, R Orth, J Schellekens, Global evaluation of runoff from 10 state-of-the-art hydrological models, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 21 (6), 2881-2903, 2017

F Pappenberger, J Bartholmes, J Thielen, HL Cloke, R Buizza, A de Roo, New dimensions in early flood warning across the globe using grand‐ensemble weather predictions, Geophysical Research Letters 35 (10), 2008

NM Hunter, PD Bates, MS Horritt, APJ De Roo, MGF Werner, Utility of different data types for calibrating flood inundation models within a GLUE framework, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 9 (4), 412-430, 2005

HE Beck, A De Roo, AIJM van Dijk, Global maps of streamflow characteristics based on observations from several thousand catchments, Journal of Hydrometeorology 16 (4), 1478-1501, 2015

APJ de Roo, Modelling Surface Runoff and Soil Erosion in Catchments Using Geographical Information Systems: Validity and Applicability of the'ANSWERS'Model in Two Catchments in the Loess Area of South Limburg (The Netherlands) and One in Devon (UK). Koninklijk Nederlands Aardrijkskundig Genootschap, 1993

BT Gouweleeuw, J Thielen, G Franchello, APJ De Roo, R Buizza, Flood forecasting using medium-range probabilistic weather prediction, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 9 (4), 365-380, 2005

A De Roo, G Schmuck, V Perdigao, J Thielen, The influence of historic land use changes and future planned land use scenarios on floods in the Oder catchment, Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts A/B/C 28 (33-36), 1291-1300, 2003

B Grizzetti, C Liquete, A Pistocchi, O Vigiak, G Zulian, F Bouraoui, ..., Relationship between ecological condition and ecosystem services in European rivers, lakes and coastal waters, Science of the Total Environment 671, 452-465, 2019

APJ De Roo, The LISEM project: an introduction, Hydrological Processes 10 (8), 1021-1025, 1996