Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Groundwater depletion linked to climate change

Date:
January 28, 2013
Source:
Simon Fraser University
Summary:
Climate change may be exacerbating many countries' experience of water stress, according to new research. Experts explain how several human-driven factors, if not rectified, will combine with climate change to significantly reduce useable groundwater availability for agriculture globally.

SFU earth scientist Diana Allen has co-authored a major study linking groundwater depletion to climate change.
Credit: Image courtesy of Simon Fraser University

Simon Fraser University earth scientist Diana Allen, a co-author on a new paper about climate changes' impacts on the world's ground water, says climate change may be exacerbating many countries' experience of water stress.

"Increasing food requirements to feed our current world's growing population and prolonged droughts in many regions of the world are already increasing dependence on groundwater for agriculture," says Allen. "Climate-change-related stresses on fresh surface water, such as glacier-fed rivers, will likely exacerbate that situation.

"Add to that our mismanagement and inadequate monitoring of groundwater usage and we may see significant groundwater depletion and contamination that will seriously compromise much of the world's agriculturally-grown food supply."

In Ground Water and Climate Change, Allen and several other international scientists explain how several human-driven factors, if not rectified, will combine with climate change to significantly reduce useable groundwater availability for agriculture globally.

The paper was published in late 2012 in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The authors note that inadequate groundwater supply records and mathematical models for predicting climate change and associated sea-level-rise make it impossible to forecast groundwater's long-range fate globally.

"Over-pumping of groundwater for irrigation is mining dry the world's ancient Pleistocene-age, ice-sheet-fed aquifers and, ironically, at the same time increasing sea-level rise, which we haven't factored into current estimations of the rise," says Allen. "Groundwater pumping reduces the amount of stored water deep underground and redirects it to the more active hydrologic system at the land-surface. There, it evaporates into the atmosphere, and ultimately falls as precipitation into the ocean."

Current research estimates oceans will rise by about a metre globally by the end of the century due to climate change. But that estimation doesn't factor in another half-a-centimetre-a-year rise, says this study, expected due to groundwater recycling back into the ocean globally.

Increasing climate-change-induced storm surges will also flood coastal areas, threatening the quality of groundwater supplies and compromising their usability.

This is the second study that Allen and her colleagues have produced to assist the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in assessing the impact of climate change on the world's groundwater supply.

The IPCC, established by the United Nations Environmental Programme and the World Meteorological Organization in 1988, periodically reviews the latest research on climate change and assesses its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.

This study is one of several guiding the IPCC's formulation of upcoming reports, the first being about the physical science behind climate change, due Sept. 2013.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Simon Fraser University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Richard G. Taylor, Bridget Scanlon, Petra Döll, Matt Rodell, Rens van Beek, Yoshihide Wada, Laurent Longuevergne, Marc Leblanc, James S. Famiglietti, Mike Edmunds, Leonard Konikow, Timothy R. Green, Jianyao Chen, Makoto Taniguchi, Marc F. P. Bierkens, Alan MacDonald, Ying Fan, Reed M. Maxwell, Yossi Yechieli, Jason J. Gurdak, Diana M. Allen, Mohammad Shamsudduha, Kevin Hiscock, Pat J.-F. Yeh, Ian Holman, Holger Treidel. Ground water and climate change. Nature Climate Change, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1744

Cite This Page:

Simon Fraser University. "Groundwater depletion linked to climate change." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130128104747.htm>.
Simon Fraser University. (2013, January 28). Groundwater depletion linked to climate change. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130128104747.htm
Simon Fraser University. "Groundwater depletion linked to climate change." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130128104747.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) — A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888

New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) — Federal researchers have released new images of the City of Chester, a steamship that sank in San Francisco Bay in 1888. Researchers recently found the shipwreck while mapping shipping routes. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Risk of Asteroid Hitting Earth Higher Than Thought, Study Shows

Risk of Asteroid Hitting Earth Higher Than Thought, Study Shows

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 23, 2014) — A group of space explorers say the chance of a city-obliterating asteroid striking Earth is higher than scientists previously believed. Deborah Gembara reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) — The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
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