More Dark Global Warming News on a Hot Friday
Posted at Yale Environment 360, July 9, 2010
Ten countries worldwide, including five African nations, are at “extreme risk” because of limited access to clean, fresh water, according to a new global water security index. And the effects of climate change and population growth will exacerbate the stress on these water supplies, potentially threatening stability in many regions, according to the analysis by Maplecroft , a UK-based consulting group. Among the nations most at risk are Somalia, Mauritania, Sudan, Niger, and Iraq. Other nations at extreme risk — including Pakistan, Egypt, and Uzbekistan — are already facing internal and border tensions because of limited water supplies. “There is a risk of water stress exacerbating future risks of conflict, although there is evidence that water scarcity may also help foster cooperation instead,” said Anna Moss, a Maplecroft environmental analyst. The index evaluates the water security of 165 nations in four key areas: access to clean water and sanitation; availability of renewable water and reliance on external sources; the compatability of supply and demand; and the dependence of the nation’s economy on water supplies. The most vulnerable regions include Africa, the Middle East and the Central Asian states of the former Soviet Union. The most secure nations include Iceland and Norway.
Also from Yale Environment 360 today:
Intense heat waves similar to the one that struck the eastern U.S. this past week will become increasingly common in the next three decades, according to a detailed study by Stanford University scientists. Analyzing U.S. temperature data from 1950 to 1999, and then using numerous models to extrapolate that data under the likely scenario that global temperatures will rise 1.8 degrees F between 2010 and 2039, lead researcher Noah Diffenbaugh said his team was surprised to see how many intense heat waves can be expected to hit the U.S. over the next 30 years. For example, in 2020s, much of the western and central U.S. can expect to experience five extremely intense heat waves that equal or exceed the worst heat wave on record from 1950 to 1999. The study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, said that the 2030s will be even hotter, with the West suffering more than five extreme events per decade. Such intense heat, attributable to the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, poses a major threat to human health and crops such as corn, soybeans, cotton, and wine grapes, the study said. A 1.8 degree F rise in the next 30 years would mean that global temperatures will have increased 3.6 degree F (2 C) since the mid-19th century — the threshold beyond which many climate scientists predict serious climatic destabilization. “Our results suggest that limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial conditions may not be sufficient to avoid serious increases in severely hot conditions,” said Diffenbaugh.