Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate Models Help Scientists Understand Global Shifts In Water Availability

Date:
November 16, 2005
Source:
United States Geological Survey
Summary:
USGS scientists have a clearer picture of global shifts in water availability after examining a century of streamflow measurements from 165 locations around the world. Simulations from an ensemble of 12 global climate models compared favorably with the historical streamflow data.

USGS scientists have a clearer picture of global shifts in water availability after examining a century of streamflow measurements from 165 locations around the world. Simulations from an ensemble of 12 global climate models compared favorably with the historical streamflow data. The scientists discovered that climate models have significant relevance in simulating historical long-term trends in streamflow around the world. That finding lends credibility to the same models' streamflow forecasts for the coming decades.

And what do the models show about the future? The models predict 10 to 40 percent increases in runoff in eastern equatorial Africa, the La Plata basin and high latitude North America and Eurasia by the year 2050. They also predict 10 to 30 percent decreases in runoff in southern Africa, southern Europe, the Middle East and mid-latitude western North America by the year 2050.

The article, "Global pattern of trends in streamflow and water availability in a changing climate," to be published tomorrow in the journal Nature, examines water-availability projections of climate models. The USGS scientists discovered that climate models are useful for simulating regional historical long-term trends in streamflow around the world.

Lead author Christopher Milly explains the complex pattern of streamflow change by noting a basic fact of thermodynamics, "A warmer atmosphere can carry more water. So, warmer winds can deliver more water to a region, but they can also take more away. This give-and-take plays out differently in different parts of the world, causing decreases in water supply here, and increases there."

Water availability is directly related to climate. However, there is no simple relationship for all regions between future temperatures and future water resources. Some regions may experience increases in precipitation and run-off while other regions may experience decreases.

According to the study's authors, changes in sustainable water availability could have considerable regional-scale consequences for economies as well as ecosystems. Water availability on the continents is important for human health, economic activity, ecosystem function and geophysical processes.

The USGS serves the nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.

###

Note: Copies of "Global pattern of trends in streamflow and water availability in a changing climate," are available from the lead author Christopher Milly.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by United States Geological Survey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

United States Geological Survey. "Climate Models Help Scientists Understand Global Shifts In Water Availability." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 November 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051116175038.htm>.
United States Geological Survey. (2005, November 16). Climate Models Help Scientists Understand Global Shifts In Water Availability. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051116175038.htm
United States Geological Survey. "Climate Models Help Scientists Understand Global Shifts In Water Availability." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051116175038.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) — For months California has suffered from a historic drought. The lack of water is worrying for farmers and ranchers, but for gold diggers it’s a stroke of good fortune. With water levels low, normally inaccessible areas are exposed. Duration: 01:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — With only three weeks until Minnesota's fishing opener, many are wondering if the ice will be gone. Some of the Northland lakes are still covered by up to three feet of ice, causing concern that just like last year, the lakes won't be ready. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Warn Of Likely El Niño Event This Year

Scientists Warn Of Likely El Niño Event This Year

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — With Pacific ocean water already showing signs of warming, the NOAA says there's about a 66 percent chance the event will begin before November. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
 
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins