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Welcome to the homepage of Lars L. Iversen - Freshwater kid and PhD Fellow from Copenhagen, Denmark,

Time is running out for sand

Lars Iversen

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Mette and I had a commentary article out in Nature last month. Here we argue that there is an urgent need for a global agenda for sand. The paper is promoted via which we plan to develop into a global hub for future research on sand shortage.

Rapid urbanization and global population growth have fueled the demand for sand and gravel, with between 32 and 50 billion tons extracted globally each year, and both consumption and prices are expected to rise further. Consequently, we are now starting to exhaust a resource that many people often consider infinite.

In the article we discuss how research must adopt a holistic approach, not only focusing on issues such as the amount of sediment held back in reservoirs, and the effects of changing riverine water and sediment flux in a warming climate, but also take into account the sediment removed through sand mining. New technologies are, at last, enabling us to see the realistic goal of a global sediment monitoring network: what is required now is the political will and finance to put this in place. Furthermore, the full range of anthropogenic impacts on the world’s rivers, and their potentially nonlinear interactions, must be incorporated into estimates of global sediment fluxes. The issue of sand scarcity cannot be studied in geographical isolation as it has worldwide implications and the reality and size of the problem must be acknowledged, and action taken, on a global stage. In a rapidly changing world, we cannot afford blind spots.

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Although the paper is targeting a general audience it has sparked several promising ideas for future research on sand mining in the world big rivers.

Mette is highlighting our paper in the most recent Nature podcast, starting at 10:48.

Bendixen M., Best J., Hackney C., & Iversen L.L. (2019): Time is running out for sand. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/d41586-019-02042-4.

Melting Greenland Is Awash in Sand. New York Times (Jul 1 2019) –

Melting Greenland Is Awash in Sand. New York Times (Jul 1 2019) –