Global Warming: Man or Myth?

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Archive for June 28th, 2010

O Water, Water, Wherefore Art Thou Water?

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This is the third part of the Impacts of Climate Change series. See Climate Change: The Coming Crisis and Global Warming: A Sea Change for the first two parts.

Freshwater availability is vital to civilization because it provides drinking water and water for irrigation to feed society. “Observational records and climate projections provide abundant evidence that freshwater resources are vulnerable and have the potential to be strongly impacted by climate change, with wide-ranging consequences for human societies and ecosystems” is the conclusion of Bates, et al. (2008) in Climate Change and Water, a Technical Paper of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, WG II (2007).

Bates et al. find:

  • Observed warming over several decades has been linked to changes in the large-scale hydrological cycle.
  • Climate model simulations for the 21st century are consistent in projecting precipitation increases in high latitudes (very likely) and parts of the tropics, and decreases in some subtropical and lower mid-latitude regions (likely).
  • By the middle of the 21st century, annual average river runoff and water availability are projected to increase as a result of climate change at high latitudes and in some wet tropical areas, and decrease over some dry regions at mid-latitudes and in the dry tropics.
  • Increased precipitation intensity and variability are projected to increase the risks of flooding and drought
    in many areas.
  • Water supplies stored in glaciers and snow cover are projected to decline in the course of the century.
  • Higher water temperatures and changes in extremes, including floods and droughts, are projected to affect water quality and exacerbate many forms of water pollution.
  • Globally, the negative impacts of future climate change on freshwater systems are expected to outweigh the benefits (high confidence).
  • Changes in water quantity and quality due to climate change are expected to affect food availability, stability, access and utilisation.

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Written by Scott Mandia

June 28, 2010 at 6:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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