Friday, November 21, 2008

More variable and uncertain water supply: global warming’s wake-up call for the southeastern US

National Wildlife Federation: The second major drought of the last decade is a wake-up call for the Southeast United States, showing the region’s vulnerability due to its reliance on scarce supplies of fresh water. The region has been operating under the best-case water availability for the last 50 years, during which drought conditions were relatively rare. But, the region has historically experienced regular droughts. Global warming is the future wildcard, potentially causing both more extremely dry periods and more heavy rainfall events. At the same time, warming-induced sea-level rise will increase the risk of saltwater intrusion into important groundwater aquifers.

A new report from National Wildlife Federation offers the latest scientific research on global warming and water supplies, competition for resources, demographic factors, and how to better prepare for managing the region’s water availability challenges. “Since 1960, the region’s population doubled and water use for municipalities, irrigation, and thermoelectric power more than tripled. The Southeast is one of the fastest growing parts of the country,” said Amanda Staudt, Climate Scientist for National Wildlife Federation.…

…“Global warming presents new challenges for managing America’s water resources, especially in our southeastern states,” added Dr. Staudt. “To prevent the worst impacts of climate change and limit the impacts on communities and wildlife, we must reduce global warming pollution.”

Hey Atlanta -- turn that thing off! Photo by Andrew pmk, Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

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