Climate Change Impacts On Terrestrial Water Storage

21 Jan 2021 by The Water Diplomat
EAST LANSING MI, United States

Rising global temperatures could result in a startling increase in frequent and severe droughts and water scarcity, affecting food security and escalation in conflict and human migration according to new research.

Findings of "Global terrestrial water storage and drought severity under climate change", published 11 January in Nature Climate Change and based on a set of 27 hydrological simulations, indicate that climate change will reduce terrestrial water storage (TWS) across a number of regions, with areas located in the Southern Hemisphere most at risk. TWS refers to all water forms which are stored on the surface of the Earth, including surface water, groundwater and vegetation, and is used as an indicator of drought and water availability.

The report predicts that TWS drought and the global land area could increase by more than 50 Percent by the end of the century.

According to the authors “More and more people will suffer from extreme droughts if a medium-to-high level of global warming continues and water management is maintained at its present state...Areas of the Southern Hemisphere, where water scarcity is already a problem, will be disproportionately affected. We predict this increase in water scarcity will affect food security and escalate human migration and conflict.”

To prevent increased droughts and water scarcity, the study highlights the need for better water management and climate change mitigation.