Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Earth Science News .




WATER WORLD
Climate change puts 40 percent more people at risk of absolute water scarcity
by Staff Writers
Potsdam, Germany (SPX) Dec 17, 2013


File image: Oil refinery.

Water scarcity impacts people's lives in many countries already today. Future population growth will increase the demand for freshwater even further. Yet in addition to this, on the supply side, water resources will be affected by projected changes in rainfall and evaporation.

Climate change due to unabated greenhouse-gas emissions within our century is likely to put 40 percent more people at risk of absolute water scarcity than would be without climate change, a new study shows by using an unprecedented number of impact models.

The analysis is to be published in a special issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that assembles first results of the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP), a unique community-driven effort to bring research on climate change impacts to a new level.

"The steepest increase of global water scarcity might happen between 2 and 3 degrees global warming above pre-industrial levels, and this is something to be experienced within the next few decades unless emissions get cut soon," says lead-author Jacob Schewe of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

"It is well-known that water scarcity increases, but our study is the first to quantify the relative share that climate change has in that, compared to - and adding to - the increase that is simply due to population growth."

From China to the US: Huge regional differences of future water availability
Today, between one and two people out of a hundred live in countries with absolute water scarcity. Population growth and climate change combined would increase this to about ten in a hundred at roughly 3 degrees global warming.

Absolute water scarcity is defined as less than 500 cubic meters available per year and person - a level requiring extremely efficient water use techniques and management in order to be sufficient, which in many countries are not in place. For a comparison, the global average water consumption per person and year is roughly 1200 cubic meters, and significantly more in many industrialized countries.

As climate change is not uniform across the world, the regional differences of its impacts on water availability are huge. For example, the Mediterranean, Middle East, the southern USA, and southern China will very probably see a pronounced decrease of available water, according to the study. Southern India, western China and parts of Eastern Africa might see substantial increases.

Food security depends on irrigation - farmers are main water users
"Water scarcity is a major threat for human development, as for instance food security in many regions depends on irrigation - agriculture is the main water user worldwide," says co-author Qiuhong Tang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

"Still, an increase of precipitation is also challenging - the additional water may cause water logging, flooding, and malfunctioning or failure of water-related infrastructure. So the overall risks are growing." Moreover, many industrial production processes require large amounts of water, so a lack thereof in some regions hampers economical development.

This study is based on a comprehensive set of eleven global hydrological models, forced by five global climate models - a simulation ensemble of unprecedented size which was produced in collaboration by many research groups from around the world. Hence, the findings synthesize the current knowledge about climate change impacts on water availability.

The cooperative ISI-MIP process systematically compares the results of the various computer simulations to see where they agree and where they don't. The results quoted above represent the multi-model average. So some of the models indicated even greater increases of water scarcity.

Unique multi-model assessment allows for risk-management perspective
"The multi-model assessment is unique in that it gives us a good measure of uncertainties in future impacts of climate change - which in turn allows us to understand which findings are most robust," says co-author Pavel Kabat of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).

"From a risk management perspective, it becomes very clear that, if human-made climate change continues, we are putting at risk the very basis of life for millions of people, even according to the more optimistic scenarios and models."

However, he added, the job is far from being done. "We need to do additional research on how the water requirement portfolio will develop in the future in different sectors like agriculture, industry, and energy - and how, in addition to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, the technological developments in the water sector may help alleviating water scarcity."

Article: Schewe, J., Heinke, J., Gerten, D., Haddeland, I., Arnell, N.W., Clarke, D.B., Dankers, R., Eisner, S., Fekete, B.M., Colon-Gonzalez, F.J., Gosling, S.M., Kim, H., Liu, X., Masaki, Y., Portmann, F.T., Satoh, Y., Stacke, T., Tang, Q., Wada, Y., Wisser, D., Albrecht, T., Frieler, K., Piontek, F., Warszawski, L., Kabat, P. (2013): Multi-model assessment of water scarcity under climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (early online edition) [DOI:10.1073/pnas.1222460110]

.


Related Links
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





WATER WORLD
Saving the Great Plains water supply
East Lansing MI (SPX) Dec 17, 2013
Significant portions of the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the largest bodies of water in the United States, are at risk of drying up if it continues to be drained at its current rate. In the current issue of Earth's Future, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, Michigan State University scientists are proposing alternatives that will halt and hopefully reverse the unsustainable use of water dr ... read more


WATER WORLD
UN supplies seeds for typhoon-hit Philippine farmers

Santa takes gourmet dinner to Japan nuclear evacuees

Deloitte aids international humanitarian organizations

Desperate Syrians find little comfort in new homes

WATER WORLD
Inertial Sensor Head shaken but not disturbed

Programming smart molecules

SOFS Take to Water

Rock points to potential diamond haul in Antarctica

WATER WORLD
Climate change puts 40 percent more people at risk of absolute water scarcity

Deep-sea corals record dramatic long-term shift in Pacific Ocean ecosystem

Researchers split water into hydrogen, oxygen using light, nanoparticles

Change in Pacific nitrogen content tied to climate change

WATER WORLD
Arctic sea ice volume up from record low

Arctic storms that churn seas and melt ice more common than thought

East Antarctica is sliding sideways

NASA Finds Reducing Salt Is Bad For Glacial Health

WATER WORLD
Diet and digestion in cows, chickens and pigs drives climate change 'hoofprint'

Two insecticides a risk for human nervous system: EU

Scientists help adapt Brazil farming to climate change

Toxic Substances in Banana Plants Kill Root Pests

WATER WORLD
Italy volcano eruption dies down, airport re-opens

Post-Sandy, Long Island barrier systems appear surprisingly sound

Sicily airport stays shut due to volcano eruption

Runaway process drives intermediate-depth earthquakes

WATER WORLD
South Sudan manhunt on for ex-vice president after 'attempted coup'

Six dead in Brazzaville army shootout

France warns of rising sectarian unrest in C. Africa

DR Congo, M23 rebels sign peace documents

WATER WORLD
Chimpanzees are rational, not conformists

Evolution of 'third party punishment'

Simple mathematical formula describes human struggles

Discovery of 1.4 million-year-old fossil human hand bone closes human evolution gap




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement