Wednesday, May 16, 2018

How Global Warming and Land-Use Change Threaten Water Security Worldwide

Pandharkawda, Maharashtra, India - Mangi villagers wait for a water tanker that arrives twice a week to replenish their dried up water well. The land here is ferociously dry and suffocating to plants. Water is the biggest crisis facing India in terms of spread and severity, affecting one in every three persons. (Credit Image: © Michael Francis McElroy/ Click to Enlarge.
The world’s water supply has been severely altered by global warming and changes to land use – such as agriculture and damming – over the past 15 years, new satellite data shows.

The Nature study of 32 world regions finds that the largest freshwater losses are occurring across the Middle East, India, Antarctica, and Greenland.  In contrast, the largest gains are taking place in parts of Asia, North America, and South America.

From 2002 to 2016, Greenland lost an average of 279m tonnes of freshwater a year – which is almost 10 times the amount of the water stored in Lake Mead, the world’s largest manmade reservoir.  The reservoir was formed between Nevada and Arizona by the construction in the 1930s of the Hoover Dam.

The findings show that there is now a “clear human fingerprint” on the global water supply, the researchers say.  However, natural variability also played a role in driving changes to water availability over the study period, they add.

Read more at How Global Warming and Land-Use Change Threaten Water Security Worldwide

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