Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists Urge Global Action to Preserve Water Supplies for Billions Worldwide

14.05.2009
Chinese, Indian, American, British scientists release conference declaration urging a region-by-region response to increased water scarcity, heightened hazards.

Melting glaciers, weakening monsoon rains, less mountain snowpack and other effects of a warmer climate will lead to significant disruptions in the supply of water to highly populated regions of the world, especially near the Himalayas in Asia and the Sierra Nevada Mountains of the western United States, according to an international group of scientists who met for three days at the University of California, San Diego.

More than two dozen international water experts participating in the “Ice, Snow, and Water: Impacts of Climate Change on California and Himalayan Asia” workshop held at UC San Diego issued a conference declaration May 6 that noted heavy rains in Indian deserts, a recent drought in what is typically one of the wettest place on earth along the foot of the Himalayas, and other extreme weather events in recent decades.

Major rivers in both regions, like China’s Yellow River and the Colorado River in the southwestern United States, routinely fail to reach the ocean now. These extremes are signs of the climate- and societally induced stresses that will be exacerbated in the future under continuing climate changes, threatening massive and progressive disruptions in the availability of drinking water to more than a billion people in the two regions.

The workshop was convened by UC San Diego and the University of Cambridge and coordinated by UC San Diego’s Sustainability Solutions Institute (SSI) and Cambridge Centre for Energy Studies (CCES) based at Judge Business School. The workshop seeks to use the intellectual resources amassed at these and other universities — ranging from climate change research at Scripps to the computing power of the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), and bringing social sciences together with physical and biological sciences – to promote solutions to the world’s most pressing sustainability issues.

“Solutions to immense problems have small beginnings and we began here,” said SSI Senior Strategist Charles Kennel, who served as director of Scripps from 1998 to 2006.

“I continue to be impressed by what a small group of dedicated people can achieve.”

Workshop leaders plan to present the declaration at the 2009 Forum on Science and Technology in Society in Kyoto, Japan, taking place in October. Additionally, the University of Cambridge will continue the discussion of the global water crisis when it hosts in September a companion workshop focused on African water problems.

Research performed at Scripps and at other research centers around the world have indicated that global warming and particulate air pollution, especially in the form of black carbon (essentially soot), are already disrupting natural supplies of water by raising air temperatures and by increasing the light absorption of snow and ice as pollutants darken the frozen surfaces.

Participants at the workshop held May 4-6 at Scripps Oceanography’s Robert Paine Scripps Forum for Science, Society, and the Environment presented methods used by California researchers to study water supply from the Sierra Nevada, the state’s largest source of water for municipal and agricultural users. Scripps and California state officials project possible 40- to 90-percent declines in Sierra Nevada snowpack by the end of the century.

Chinese experts characterized water quality problems affecting many of the country’s major rivers and lakes and outlined government plans to protect water supply. Representatives from Nepal reported on the dangerous spread of mountain moraines, masses of debris left by retreating glaciers, which have become unstable reservoirs created by rapid glacial melt. Himalayan glaciers supply more than 1 billion people in Asia with drinking water.

Participants also discussed methods by which water resource management solutions that are equitable can be achieved. They concluded in the conference declaration that more resources must be committed to detailed climate modeling and collection of high-resolution data to more rapidly understand threats to water supplies. Declaration co-authors said that water availability can be doubled or tripled in some areas with a combination of conservation, technology, planning, and changed behavior, but that the most effective solutions would likely need to originate at the regional level.

Workshop experts represented the United Nations World Climate Research Program, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Indian Space Research Organization, the British Antarctic Survey, the California Department of Water Resources as well as several American universities.

Notes to editors:

To access the conference declaration, visit http://esi.ucsd.edu/esiportal/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=29&Itemid=46.

To access video of the conference declaration public event and video and photos pertaining to the research of “Ice, Snow, and Water: Impacts of Climate Change on California and Himalayan Asia” workshop participants, visit http://video-jsoe.ucsd.edu/calit2/SSI/.

To learn more about the Sustainability Solutions Institute (SSI) at UC San Diego, visit http://esi.ucsd.edu/.

Robert Monroe | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.cam.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Comet or asteroid? Hubble discovers that a unique object is a binary

21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cnidarians remotely control bacteria

21.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?

21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>