Research warns of water access difficulties as climate crisis progresses

Research by the National Center for Atmospheric Research shows that by the end of this century, access to water resources will become difficult in the snowy regions of the northern hemisphere.

Areas that receive the same amount of rainfall and water runoff will become harder to predict, according to the study, as the climate crisis reduces snow cover and leads to unreliable runoff, and water resources will become increasingly dependent on periodic rainfall, which can become a problem during summers when heatwaves and droughts occur.

“Water managers will act on the whim of individual precipitation events rather than having four to six months to anticipate snowmelt and runoff,” said study author Will Vader, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. , and much of that predictability could disappear with climate change.”

Snow is already melting earlier, and in some areas even decreasing, and scientists predict that this could reduce the amount of water contained in the ice at the end of an average winter in parts of the American Rockies by about 80%.

These changes can also ripple through reliable ecosystems due to water from under the snow and can put pressure on water resources, dry soil and increase the risk of fires.

The study assumes that greenhouse gas emissions will continue at a high rate, and these serious consequences can be avoided if emissions are successfully reduced.

The team used computer climate models to simulate how rising temperatures would change water resources by 2100.

He found that the Northern Hemisphere would average another 45 days without snow, with regions including the Rocky Mountains, the Canadian Arctic, eastern North America and eastern Europe experiencing the largest reduction in reliable runoff.

“Snow readings are important to inform local management of valuable water resources, as utilities and civil business agencies plan new reservoirs and other infrastructure to adapt to a changing climate, we must address fundamental research questions about the changing characteristics of winter snowpack and the resulting flow. a stream we have long relied on.”

According to the study, soil conditions will also be drier in most parts of the Northern Hemisphere due to drier summers, but in parts of East Asia, the Himalayas and northwestern North America, soil moisture will continue due to increased rainfall.

Source: airqualitynews