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 Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

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: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

'On-off switch' brings researchers a step closer to potential HIV vaccine

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Penn studies find promise for innovations in liquid biopsies

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

An LED-based device for imaging radiation induced skin damage

30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>