Along with a warming climate and intensified human activities, recent water storage in global landlocked basins has undergone a widespread decline.
Along with a warming climate and intensified human activities, recent water storage in global landlocked basins has undergone a widespread decline. A new study reveals this decline has aggravated local water stress and caused potential sea level rise.
The study, "Recent Global Decline in Endorheic Basin Water Storage," was carried out by a team of scientists from six countries and appears in the current issue of Nature Geoscience.
"Water resources are extremely limited in the continental hinterlands where streamflow does not reach the ocean. Scientifically, these regions are called endorheic basins," said Jida Wang, a Kansas State University geographer and the study's lead author.
"Over the past few decades, we have seen increasing evidence of perturbations to the endorheic water balance," said Wang, an assistant professor of geography. "This includes, for example, the desiccating Aral Sea, the depleting Arabian aquifer and the retreating Eurasian glaciers. This evidence motivated us to ask: Is the total water storage across the global endorheic system, about one-fifth of the continental surface, undergoing a net decline?"
Read more at Kansas State University
Image: This illustration shows terrestrial water storage changes in global endorheic basins from GRACE satellite observations, April 2002 to March 2016. In the top image, terrestrial water storage trends -- in millimeters of equivalent water thickness per year -- for each endorheic unit are highlighted, followed by animated monthly terrestrial water storage anomalies, also in millimeters. The bottom image shows monthly net terrestrial water storage anomalies in gigatonnes, in global endorheic and exorheic systems -- excluding Greenland, Antarctica and the oceans -- and linkage to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, right axis. Terrestrial water storage anomalies are relative to the time-mean baseline in each unit or system, with removal of seasonality. For comparison, 360 gigatonnes of terrestrial water storage equals 1 millimeter of sea level equivalent. Courtesy of Jida Wang. (Credit: Kansas State University)