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 reports about: > Climate change > Global Action to Preserve Water Supplies > Himalayan > Melting glaciers > River > SSI > Science TV > Water > agricultural users > biological sciences > black carbon > climate change research > drinking water > effects of a warmer climate > less mountain snowpack > social science > social sciences > water supply > weakening monsoon rains
Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
07.12.2016 | Earth Sciences
07.12.2016 | Earth Sciences
07.12.2016 | Materials Sciences