Kaczmarek, Z

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Zdzisław Kaczmarek


Zdzisław Kaczmarek 1928 - 18 February 2008 (Warsaw, Poland)


Professor Zdzisław Kaczmarek was a man of great distinction: a scientist in the fields of both hydrology and water management, an educator, an administrator, and a decision-maker. A full list of his achievements and high-profile national and international activities would be very long. He was at various times Director of the Polish Hydrometeorological Service, Professor and Director in the Warsaw Technical University, Deputy Minister of Higher Education of the Polish Government, Department Head in the Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences, and a long-term fellow and project leader in the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria.

From 1981 to 1988 he was Scientific Secretary of the Polish Academy of Sciences. In 1969 and 1980, he was made a Corresponding Member and a Full Member of the Polish Academy of Sciences, respectively. He received a number of high Polish orders and distinctions.

Professor Kaczmarek had a major role in shaping the development of hydrology and water resources research in Poland over many decades. His research interests embraced a broad range of fields, but foremost were applications of probability theory, statistics and stochastic processes to hydrology and meteorology, with particular emphasis on the mathematical theory of storage. He authored many landmark publications both in Poland and abroad.

Despite having retired, Professor Kaczmarek was scientifically active until a few months ago. I was so glad to see him when he attended a lecture I gave to a meeting of the Water Resources Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw on 18 May 2007. Albeit walking with a stick and looking far less strong than before, he showed his usual interest in the topic and asked searching questions in the discussion.

His memorial service in Warsaw gathered many of his former students, friends and collaborators. Numerous personalities of Polish hydrology and water resources research, and geo-sciences, assembled there to pay a last tribute to a great man. He will be sorely missed by many of us who will no longer be able to count on his wise advice and co-operation.

Zbyszek Kundzewicz

Professor Kaczmarek was was one of the pioneers in founding the BALTEX (Baltic Sea Experiment) programme during the early 1990s, when the decay of the Iron Curtain smoothed considerably the establishment of international research projects between former “West” and “East” research groups in Europe. At that time BALTEX was scheduled to enable a complete water budget for the entire water catchment area of the Baltic Sea as a control experiment for the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) and for studies of all aspects of Global Change within this area.

When the first planning steps were initiated, Professor Kaczmarek immediately joined the BALTEX planning group with his enormous skill of all hydrological processes and never-ending enthusiasm. He was a founding member of the BALTEX Science Steering Group, BSSG, and acted as vice-chairman of the BSSG during 1994 to 2001. Professor Kaczmarek was among the few key hydrologists who shaped the profile of BALTEX in these years. He helped opening doors for cooperation with the Polish Hydro-Meteorological Service as well as other research institutions in both Poland and also other countries of the former Eastern Europe. Professor Kaczmarek supported actively the build up of a unique hydrological data base on river runoff to the Baltic Sea – a key element for investigating the water cycle of the basin. This data base has been central to many projects of BALTEX Phase I and was also used in a range of related environmental studies beyond BALTEX.

Ehrhard Raschke and Hans-Jörg Isemer

Hydrological Achievements

Professor Kaczmarek was a member of IAHS, AGU and many other professional societies. From 1965 to 1968 he was Vice-President of WMO’s Commission for Hydrology. From 1971 to 1978 he led the IAHS International Commission on Water Resources Systems and, in 1990, he received the prestigious International Hydrology Prize awarded by IAHS in conjunction with UNESCO and WMO. Over the last two decades Professor Kaczmarek was particularly interested in climate change impact on water resources. He was a coordinating lead author of the water chapter in the IPCC Second Assessment Report and a lead author of the European regional chapter in the IPCC Third Assessment Report. He was heavily involved in the international BALTEX project.

Reference Material

IAHS obituary by Zbyszek Kundzewicz

BALTEX obituary by Ehrhard Raschke and Hans-Jörg Isemer

Major Publications

Kaczmarek, Z. (1960). Przedział ufności jako miara dokładności oszacowania prawdopodobnych przepływów powodziowych. W. Komunikacyjne (Ed.). Wydawnictwa Komunikacyjne.

Kaczmarek, Z., 1960. Programowanie gospodarki zbiornikowej. Politechnika Warszawska.

Kaczmarek, Z. and Trykozko, E., 1964. Application of the method of quantiles of estimation of the Pearson distribution. Acta Geoph. Polon, 12(1).

Kaczmarek, Z., 1970. Metody statystyczne w hydrologii i meteorologii. Wydawnictwa Komunikacji i Łączności.

Kaczmarek, Z., 1977. Statistical methods in hydrology and meteorology. Foreign Scientific Publications Department of the National Center for Scientific, Technical and Economic Information.

Kaczmarek, Z., 1990. On the sensitivity of runoff to climate change. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

Kaczmarek, Z. and Krasuski, D., 1991. Sensitivity of water balance to climate change and variability. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

Kaczmarek, Z., Napiorkowski, J., Jurak, D. and Kaczmarek, Z., 1997. Impact of climate change on water resources in Poland; Ed. Z. Kaczmarek. Warszawa: Inst. geofizyki PAN.

Kundzewicz, Z.W. and Kaczmarek, Z., 2000. Coping with hydrological extremes. Water International, 25(1), pp.66-75.

Strupczewski, W.G. and Kaczmarek, Z., 2001. Non-stationary approach to at-site flood frequency modelling II. Weighted least squares estimation. Journal of Hydrology, 248(1), pp.143-151.

Kaczmarek, Z., 2005. Risk and uncertainty in water management. Acta Geophysica Polonica, 53(4), p.343.