Climate Change Redistributes Global Water Resources
Rising temperatures worldwide are changing not only weather systems, but - just as importantly - the distribution of water around the globe, according to a study published today (March 14, 2016) in the journal, "Scientific Reports."
Analysis of more than 40 years of water samples archived at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF) in New Hampshire tells a vivid tale of how the sources of precipitation have changed. Over the years, there has been a dramatic increase, especially during the winter, of the amount of water that originated far to the north.
"In the later years, we saw more water derived from evaporation of the Arctic and the North Atlantic oceans," said Tamir Puntsag, a graduate student at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse, New York, and the lead author on the study.
This study marked the first time scientists have used specific measurements to demonstrate how water sources are changing, especially in the northeastern United States. "Climate change has an important relationship to the water cycle. It goes beyond temperature effects," said co-author Myron Mitchell, an ESF biogeochemist/ecologist who is Puntsag's major professor. "This study shows how climate change is altering the spatial patterns and amounts of precipitation - where it comes from and where it falls. Such effects can drastically affect the availability of potable water and also contribute to the massive flooding we have seen in recent years."
Continue reading at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry,
Water image via Shutterstock.