How does a climate change influence water resources?

Essay by Matthew_stevenUniversity, Bachelor's November 2008

download word file, 12 pages 3.0

Climate change is the biggest challenge that we face in the world today. It is already leading to significant changes in the world's physical environment. Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent. Glaciers are melting. Sea ice and snow cover are declining. Animals and plants are responding to earlier seasons. Global warming has already driven up mean sea levels by 110-20 centimetres during the last 100 years, and this is forecast to rise by up to another 88 centimetres by 2100. In this essay I will discuss how climate change influences water resources and how the impact of climate change on hydrology can be minimised.

Water is essential to human life and many of life's activities, from direct issues such as drinking water and agriculture, to other essential modern activates such as industry and power generation. Consequently, there have been a number of studies into the potential effects climate change can have on hydrology and water resources.

These studies are usually estimated by constructing scenarios for changes in climatic inputs to a hydrological model from the output of general circulation models (G.C.M's). The main motive for creating such a model is to better understand how climate changes affect hydrology so it is paramount that these models are appropriate for measuring the impact on water quantity and quality.

Such research over time is vital, as it will help predict future changes and in particular seasonal flow predictions. As sea levels rise due to increases in global temperatures the risks of flooding are much higher and therefore a greater emphases on water management based on the minimisation and adaptation to these changes in capacity must be made (I.E. flood defences). Also as climate change affects the quality and quantity of water, supply strategies must adapt. These practices will have a major impact...