Dr.ir. R.J. (Ruud) van der Ent

Dr.ir. R.J. (Ruud) van der Ent



Ruud van der Ent is a professor at the Department of Water Management since 2018. Ruud holds a PhD from Delft University of Technology (2014) and previously worked at Witteveen+Bos Engineering Consultants (2014-2016) and Utrecht University (2016-2018) before returning to Delft. Ruud specializes in precipitation extremes, land-atmosphere interactions and global hydrology. Most of Ruud's research focusses on continental to global scales and encompasses both fundamental aspects of the hydrological cycle (residence times, evaporation source to precipiation sink relations), as well as pressing environmental issues (land-use change, climate change, hydropower, plastic pollution, deforestation, ecosystem resilience, extreme rainfall and droughts).

Ruud is a 2017 Veni laureate (fellow), which is a research grant by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) with the research “Unravelling the moisture sources in precipitation extremes worldwide”. Ruud is the main builder of the atmospheric moisture tracking model WAM-2layers of which the main source code is available on Github. Ruud is actively involved in the European Geosciences Union where he is convening two sessions during the annual General Assembly in Vienna, Austria: “The atmospheric water cycle under change: feedbacks, land use, hydrological changes and implications” and “Large scale hydrology”.


Precipitation extremes
Extreme precipitation leading to floods causes enormous damages worldwide. My research focusses on the questions: What drives these precipitation extremes? What are the moisture sources of precipitation extremes? Do different moisture sources lead to different flood magnitudes? Can we use moisture sources to test the reliability of climate model predictions for precipitation extremes? The main objective of this research is to unravel the moisture sources of extreme precipitation worldwide for the current and future climate.

Land-atmosphere interactions and tele-connections
Where does precipitation come from? It is not easy to answer this question because of the complex and energy-intensive processes that bring moisture to a certain location and cause moisture to precipitate highly heterogeneously in space and variable over time. Part of the precipitation comes from so-called “moisture recycling”, which is moisture from land evaporation that returns to the land surface as precipitation. My research focusses on quantifying the role of land-atmosphere interactions in the climate system as well as identifying tele-connections where one region’s evaporation can be an importance source of precipitation elsewhere. As such, the magnitude of moisture recycling can be used as an indicator for the susceptibility of our water resources to local and remote land-use change.

Global hydrological modelling
Improved understanding of the global hydrological cycle is important given the increasing pressure on water resources worldwide due to water-use, land-use and climate change. My research interest lies in the quantification of the global water resources, for example: global hydropower potential and global water footprints. Moreover, I am interested in evaluating and improving the conceptualization and parameterization of global hydrological models whereby I mainly focus on improving the way we model the root zone in our models and how the root zone responds to changes. This is crucial for hydrological prediction under change.

Research Grants and Fellowships

Research Grants and Fellowships

2022 Small-Scale Initiatives in Software Performance Optimization by the Netherlands eScience Center "Faster tracking of moisture in the atmosphere" (4 month in-kind contribution Research Software Engineer, co-applicant)

2018/2020 Refugees in Science by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) for the proposal entitled “Detection of vegetation droughts and their propagation over continents” (EUR 88,723, main applicant)

2018 UNSW’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering’s Visiting Fellowship scheme (AUD 4,000, main applicant)

2018 International collaboration grant by the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development (FORMAS) for the proposal entitled: “Ripples of Resilience: navigating cross-scale SDG interactions of water boundaries” (SEK 1,999,537, co-applicant)

2017 Innovational Research Incentives Scheme Veni grant by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) for the proposal entitled ”Unravelling the moisture sources in precipitation extremes worldwide” (€ 250,000, main applicant).

2010 PhD grant by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) for the proposal entitled “Exploring the limits of the terrestrial fresh water cycle” (€ 210,000, co-applicant).

Invited Presentations

2017 Boussinesq Lecture 2017: Precipitation, Boussinesq Center for Hydrology, “Origin and residence times of precipitation, and why that matters in hydrology”, 26 October 2017, Delft, Netherlands.

2011 TU Delft Alumni Symposium, “Where the rain comes from, and where evaporation goes to”, 12 October 2017, Delft, Netherlands.

Full publication list


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