Climate change is having an impact on the water cycle, raising the issue of whether we should be investing in adapting to these impacts or focusing on more pressing water resource issues, such as providing water and sanitation for increasing populations? If investment in adapting to climate change is a priority, then is it best to invest in protecting natural ecosystems or developing engineered infrastructure?
“The traditional way of handling extreme events such as floods and droughts, with engineering works should be complemented with the ecosystems approach which integrates the management of land and water that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way”, says Dr. Max Campos, Review Editor for the Latin American Chapter for IPCC Impacts and Adaptation Report .
“Climate change is indeed an important issue, but it needs to be seen in context of the many other global challenges affecting water resources such as population growth, urbanization and land use change. Adaptation is vital – but we need to adapt to the full range of factors that are stressing water resources, and not focus on human-forced climate change to the exclusion of everything else”, says Oliver Brown from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).
“It should be a must for vulnerable communities whether in the developed or developing world to ensure that their development ambitions are prepared for climate change. Adaptation should not be limited to the rich”, said Dr. Henk Van Schaik, Deputy Programme Coordinator UNESCO-IHE. He argued that vulnerable communities in the developed world are preparing and investing to protect their societies, economies and environments to the impacts of climate change. This is not so in transition economies nor in developing countries.
Going beyond the issue of investment in pressing development issues or adaptation measures, is the question of looking at natural versus engineered solutions.
“Conventional approaches to climate change adaptation range from water conservation and efficient use to new operational techonologies”, says Dr Mark Smith, Head of the IUCN Water Programme. “Dams and reservoirs are still considered as the most effective structural means of risk management. But we need to start thinking of the environment as infrastructure for adaptation as well. Health and intact river basins, wetlands and floodplains make us less vulnerable to climate change. Lowering risk is a good reason for investing in watersheds and the environment.” – Good courtesy from sciencedaily.com
Water Resources impact
The effects of global warming are vast and cover every sphere of one’s life. Both the nature and the living beings are suffering from the effects of global warming. If we do not take note of the alarming rate of growing global warming then our earth might cease to exist someday. The water resources have been heavily affected by the global warming phenomenon. Sea levels have risen, glaciers retreats are taking place often and the most harmful affect is the shrinking of the Arctic Circle. This phenomenon has caused concerns among all the sectors and geo-engineering is considered to be a way of mitigation.
If we put it simply then the water bodies would be affected during the long and scorching summers since the rate of evaporation would increases with hotter summers. Water cycle is important for any kind of human activity and global warming would adversely affect this cycle causing a topsy turvy in the human activities as well as the climactic changes. Global warming might also lead to floods. The water levels in many regions would lower due to excessive evaporation and this would cause in torrential downpours increasing the chance of deluge.
The acceleration in the phenomenon of global warming has caused the ice sheets in the West Antarctic Circle and Greenland to shrink. Carbon sediments have been released in the air and due to the increase of carbon emission the reduction in the ice sheets has taken place. This reduction might cause a huge flood around the world. By the end of twenty first century the water in the sea is expected to rise by 7.1- 23.2 inches. Due to the augmentation of global warming effects the Thermohaline circulation might as well get disrupted. The fresh water from the Polar Regions would interrupt the Gulf Stream causing this distress. The implication of a change of course of the gulf stream would have worldwide effect that would drastically accelerate climate change and extremes.
The imbalance created in the water cycle by global warming has far reaching effects. Some places on the earth would face extreme temperatures along with torrential rainfall while others would face scarcity of water and drought. In fact, according to the scientists this phenomenon of global warming might even cause desertification in the extreme Tropical areas like Africa.
The glacier rich areas like Western North America, Asia, Alps, Indonesia and Africa are suffering badly due to global warming. The melting of glaciers in these regions has raised concerns regarding the increase in water levels. Ocean circulation also suffers due to global warming. The oceans act as the absorber of carbon dioxide and when it reaches the saturation point it fails to absorb any more carbon dioxide. As a result the ocean surface becomes warm.
Acidification of ocean is caused due to the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This is an indirect effect of global warming causing distress to people worldwide. The rise in sea level would cause infiltration of the saline water into the groundwater. This will pose as a potential danger for the health of the living organisms.
Impact on human activity
Water is essential for human existence. It is also used for various other purposes like generating electricity from the hydro electrical power plants. These hydroelectricity plants require the water current which is derived from the fast flowing rivers. But with the increase in global warming the rivers are unable to maintain their flow causing a decline in the production of electricity. Water levels in reservoirs and aquifers are also decreasing due to the increase in global warming. This would lead to grave consequences at homes and workplaces as well as the agricultural sector of the different countries.
Hence, we should sit up and take note of this predicament that is threatening our existence. Only our joint endeavor would help our race to survive the threat of global warming. – Great article by theglobalwarmingoverview.com.