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GLOBAL WARMING - DROUGHT FREQUENCY
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DISCLAIMER: As you know, Carbon Blueprints is dedicated to accuracy and truth. This site is allowing this discussion, of which each "fact" must be backed up by research and accurate data, in order make sure we know what is true, what is myth, and what is a lie.
IS THERE MORE DROUGHTS AROUND THE WORLD?:
With an increase in Global Warming we should be getting hotter. With the increase of heat we should be having a shortage of water in the form of droughts around the world. Instead there was a record winter snow and rain fall for Colorado and most of the central states in the years 2006-2007 and even more record snow fall continuing into the winter of 2007-2008, where every continent on the earth received record temperatures, snow and/or precipitation throughout the winter. (see Earth is Hottest in 400 years?)
Carbon Cycle

Again this is only one side of the spectrum to this question. On the other hand, with the ice melt coming from worldwide sources and such a large increase in fresh water being reintroduced into the ocean. This fresh water evaporates quicker and with more evaporation occuring over the oceans, that precipitation is making its way across our lands and becoming snowpack and precipitation in the form of rain and in effect more floods and less droughts.

NOAA introduced a study (see Land-Based Precipitation) that shows that the earth has a "fail-safe" in case of the temperatures heating up and greenhouse emissions increasing. This fail-safe program is called Cloud Cover. This theory says that clouds are another great indicator of Climate Change (Natural of Man-Made) because when the earth heats up, more precipitation develops, more precipitation means more clouds developing, and so cover the earth's surface, returning the earth's temperature to a reasonable level. This is still a theory but a reasonable one to accept as very possible.

If Global Warming is to increase the amount of droughts, this could be detrimental to the whole human race. As of right now the earth is adapting and working out its temperature increase and as for the amount of droughts around the world, there is a decrease and an increase of flooding around the world.

"THEORY" = Prediction for the Future
"MUST CONFIRM WITH DATA" = Data is not in and has not been provided as of yet.

"FACT" = data is in and there is no question.
"CONFLICT" is when both sides have accurate" data but they conflict.
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EPA - WATER RESOURCES

(MUST CONFIRM WITH DATA)

All regions of the world show an overall net negative impact of climate change on water resources and freshwater ecosystems. Areas in which runoff is projected to decline are likely to face a reduction in the value of the services provided by water resources. The beneficial impacts of increased annual runoff in other areas are likely to be tempered in some areas by negative effects of increased precipitation variability and seasonal runoff shifts on water supply, water quality and flood risks (IPCC, 2007)

The future effects of climate change on water resources in the U.S. and other parts of the world will depend on trends in both climatic and non-climatic factors. Evaluating these impacts is challenging because water availability, quality and streamflow are sensitive to changes in temperature and precipitation. Other important factors include increased demand for water caused by population growth, changes in the economy, development of new technologies, changes in watershed characteristics and water management decisions.

In addition to the typical impacts on water management, climate change introduces an additional element of uncertainty about future water resource management. Water resources in the United States are heavily managed and supplies are scarce in some regions of the country. Strategies have been developed and continue to evolve to address these issues. Implementation of adaptation measures, such as water conservation, use of markets to allocate water, and the application of appropriate management practices will have an important role to play in determining the impacts of climate change on water resources.

The Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) Synthesis and Assessment Product 4.3 (SAP 4.3) will address the effects of climate change on agriculture, land resources, water resources (water quantity and quality), and biodiversity. The primary goal of the report, which will be complete by December 2007, is to enhance understanding and ability to estimate impacts of future climate change on these systems.

The sections that follow will describe:

NOAA - Snow cover below the average since 1987.

(CONFLICTING WITH WINTERS OF 2007 AND 2008)

Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent has consistently remained below average since 1987, and has decreased by about 10% since 1966. This is mostly due to a decrease in spring and summer snow extent over both the Eurasian and North American continents since the mid-1980s. Winter and autumn snow cover extent have shown no significant trend for the northern hemisphere over the same period.

The National Weather Service is projecting this year's spring runoff into Lake Powell will be 122 percent of average. That will raise Lake Powell, currently at elevation 3591 feet above mean sea level, approximately 50 feet by mid-July, to its highest elevation in six years. Powell is currently projected to end the calendar year almost 40 feet higher than it is today.

For the past seven years, the annual release from Lake Powell to Lake Mead has been 8.23 million acre-feet. Based on the April 1 inflow forecast, Reclamation projected that, by the end of September, Lake Powell would rise above 3636 feet above mean sea level (msl) and Lake Mead would be below 1105 feet msl. In accordance with the interim guidelines, an additional amount of water will therefore be released from Lake Powell to Lake Mead for water year 2008 (Oct. 1, 2007 - September 30, 2008).

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR - BUREAU OF RECLAMATION - High Snowpack Triggers Additional Releases from Lake Powell to Lake Mead in Accordance with New Guidelines

(FACTS - Amounts of Snowpack, THEORY - Not quite sure how much the lake will raise)

    The satellite was only launched in 2002 and it enabled the collection of data, not just on temperature but also on cloud formation and water vapour. What all the climate models suggest is that, when you've got warming from additional carbon dioxide, this will result in increased water vapour, so you're going to get a positive feedback. That's what the models have been indicating. What this great data from the NASA Aqua satellite ... (is) actually showing is just the opposite, that with a little bit of warming, weather processes are compensating, so they're actually limiting the greenhouse effect and you're getting a negative rather than a positive feedback."

Institute of Public Affairs from The Australian - "The temperature of the earth has been decreasing over the last 10 years."

(MUST CONFIRM WITH DATA)

    Major floods striking America’s heartland in March offer a preview of the spring seasonal outlook, according to NOAA’s National Weather Service. Several factors will contribute to above-average flood conditions, including record rainfall in some states and snow packs, which are melting and causing rivers and streams to crest over their banks. The week of March 15, more than 250 communities in a dozen states are experiencing flood conditions. SCIENCE DAILY - Current Major Flooding In U.S. A Sign Of Things To Come, NOAA Predicts

EPA - WATER AVAILABILITY

(MUST CONFIRM WITH DATA)

The movement of water between the land surface, oceans and atmosphere is called the hydrologic cycle. Water in the atmosphere is transported to the land surface and oceans as precipitation (rain, snow or sleet). Upon reaching the land surface, water may immediately become streamflow, or it may infiltrate into the soil where it may later be taken up by plants or it can percolate to the groundwater. Surface streamflow and groundwater flow move water from the land surface to lakes and the ocean. Water re-enters the atmosphere as vapor either via evaporation from surface waters (ocean, lakes, etc) or transpiration from plants. This cyclical movement of water is driven by solar energy. An increase in net solar radiation or temperature will effectively speed up the processes within this cycle (evaporation, condensation, precipitation, etc).

Thumbnail image of the Water Cycle: color graphic showing the movement of water through the water cycle, from evaporation and transpiration to condensation, to water storage in the atmophere, to precipitation, to water storage in ice and snow, surface runoff, snowmelt runoff to streams, streamflow, and freshwater storage. A cut away shows the ground water portion of the water cycle, from infiltration to ground water storage and ground water discharge into springs and freshwater storage. Surface runoff, freshwater storage, ground water storage, and ground water discharge are all shown contributing to water storage in oceans, where the evaporation portion of the water cycle starts again.
Figure 1: The Water Cycle
Click on Thumbnail for full size image

Due to complex interactions of changes in the hydrologic cycle with global circulation patterns and local weather patterns, an increase in energy in the hydrologic cycle does not necessarily translate into an increase in precipitation in all geographic regions. It is difficult to predict future changes in regional precipitation patterns. Predicting regional changes in streamflow and groundwater recharge due to climate change also remains challenging, particularly because of the uncertainty in regional projections of how precipitation may change (IPCC, 2007).

Changes in temperature, precipitation patterns and snowmelt can have impacts on water availability. Temperature is predicted to rise in most areas, but is generally expected to increase more in inland areas and at higher latitudes. Higher temperatures will increase loss of water through evaporation. The net impact on water supplies will depend on changes in precipitation (including changes in the total amount, form, and seasonal timing of precipitation). Generally speaking, in areas where precipitation increases sufficiently, net water supplies may not be affected or they may even increase. In other areas where precipitation remains the same or decreases, net water supplies would decrease. Where water supplies decrease, there is also likely to be an increase in demand, which could be particularly significant for agriculture (the largest consumer of water) and also for municipal, industrial and other uses.

Increases in temperature can affect the amount and duration of snow cover which, in turn, can affect timing of streamflow. Glaciers are expected to continue retreating, and many small glaciers may disappear entirely. Peak streamflow may move from late spring to early spring/late winter in those areas where snowpack is important in determining water availability. Changes in streamflow have important implications for water and flood management, irrigation, and planning. If supplies are reduced, off-stream users of water such as irrigated agriculture and in-stream users such as hydropower, fisheries, recreation and navigation, could be most directly affected (IPCC, 2007).

EPA - WATER QUALITY

(MUST CONFIRM WITH DATA)

Higher water temperatures and changes in the timing, intensity, and duration of precipitation can affect water quality. Higher temperatures reduce dissolved oxygen levels, which can have an effect on aquatic life. Where streamflow and lake levels fall, there will be less dilution of pollutants; however, increased frequency and intensity of rainfall will produce more pollution and sedimentation due to runoff (IPCC, 2007).

Flood magnitudes and frequencies will very likely increase in most regions — mainly a result of increased precipitation intensity and variability — and increasing temperatures are expected to intensify the climate's hydrologic cycle and melt snowpacks more rapidly (IPCC, 2007). Flooding can affect water quality, as large volumes of water can transport contaminants into water bodies and also overload storm and wastewater systems.

Higher temperatures, particularly in the summer, earlier snowmelt, and potential decreases in summer precipitation could increase risk of drought. The frequency and intensity of floods and droughts could increase, even in the same areas.

Sea level rise may also affect freshwater quality by increasing the salinity of coastal rivers and bays and causing saltwater intrusion, movement of saline water into fresh ground water resources in coastal regions.

Changes in water quality could have implications for all types of uses. For example, higher temperatures and changes in water supply and quality could affect recreational use of lakes and rivers or productivity of freshwater fisheries. Certain species of fish could find temperatures too warm and migrate to more northern or higher altitude locations where water is cooler.

EPA - POSSIBLE WATER RESOURCES

(MUST CONFIRM WITH DATA)

In general, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) concludes that climate change will strain many of North America’s water resources, increasing the competition for water. A warmer climate will affect the seasonable availability of water by increasing evaporation and reducing snowpacks. The Columbia River and other heavily used water systems of western North America are expected to be particularly vulnerable. Groundwater-based systems in the Southwest are also likely to be stressed by climate change. Heavier precipitation will very likely increase waterborne diseases and affect water quality, and higher variability of precipitation will make water management more difficult.

Potential water resource impacts for North America are listed below by region. (IPCC, 2001 and IPCC, 2007)

Alaska

The state is lightly settled and abundant in water resources. Potential ecological, hydropower, and flood impacts include:

  • Increased spring flood risks
  • Glacial retreat/disappearance in south, advance in north; impacts on flows, stream ecology
  • Increased stress on salmon, other fish species
  • Flooding of coastal wetlands
  • Changes in estuary salinity/ecology
  • Increased frequency of intense precipitation events - increased risk of flash floods

Northwest

The Pacific Northwest has a large and rapidly growing population, particularly along the coast; with lightly populated rural areas. Water abundance decreases from north to south. The region relies heavily on irrigation for agriculture and on hydropower for electricity production. These uses, along with endangered species issues, are increasing competition for water in the region.

  • Rise in snow line in winter-spring, possible increases in snowfall, earlier snowmelt, more frequent rain on snow, changes in seasonal streamflow, possible reductions in summer streamflow, reduced summer soil moisture
  • Possible increases in annual runoff in Cascades
  • Changes in lake and stream ecology - warmwater species benefiting; damage to coldwater species (e.g. trout and salmon)

West and Southwest

The West and Southwest have experienced rapid population growth but depend heavily on limited groundwater and surface water supplies. In the southern border region, there are also water quality concerns. Some rivers and canyons in the region are also subject to periodic flash flooding.

  • Likely reduction in snowpacks and seasonal shifts in runoff patterns
  • Possible declines in groundwater recharge - reduced water supplies
  • Increased water temperatures - further stress on aquatic species
  • Increased frequency of intense precipitation events - increased risk of flash floods
  • Possible summer salinity increase in San Francisco Bay and Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta

Midwest

America's agricultural heartland is mostly rainfed, with some areas relying heavily on irrigation.

  • Annual streamflow decreasing/increasing; possible large declines in summer streamflow
  • Increased likelihood of severe droughts
  • Possible increasing aridity in semi-arid zones
  • Increases or decreases in irrigation demand and water availability - uncertain impacts on farm-sector income, groundwater levels, streamflows, and water quality

Great Lakes

The states surrounding the Great Lakes are heavily populated. Variations in lake levels and flows would affect hydropower, shipping, tourism and recreation, municipalities, shoreline structures, and human health.

  • Possible lake-level declines
  • Reduced hydropower production; reduced channel depths for shipping
  • Decreases in lake ice extent - some years without ice cover
  • Changes in phytoplankton/zooplankton biomass, northward migration of fish species, possible loss of coldwater species in certain areas
  • Declines in water quality

Northeast

The Northeast states have a large, mostly urban population. The region has generally adequate water supplies, with a large number of small dams, but limited total reserve capacity. Floodplains in the region are heavily populated.

  • Decreased snow cover amount and duration
  • Possible large reduction in streamflow
  • Accelerated coastal erosion, saline intrusion into coastal aquifers
  • Changes in magnitude, timing of ice freeze-up/break-up, with impacts on spring flooding
  • Possible elimination of bog ecosystems
  • Shifts in fish species distributions, migration patterns

Southeast, Gulf, and Mid-Atlantic

These regions have experienced rapidly increasing population - especially in coastal areas. The region has some water quality and non-point source pollution problems, as well as stress on aquatic ecosystems.

  • Heavily populated coastal floodplains at risk to flooding from extreme precipitation events, hurricanes
  • Possible lower base flows, larger peakflows, longer droughts
  • Possible increases or decreases in runoff/river discharge, increased flow variability
  • Major expansion of northern Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone possible - other impacts on coastal systems related to changes in precipitation/non-point source pollutant loading
  • Changes in estuary systems and wetlands extent, biotic processes, species distribution

EPA - ECOSYSTEMS AND BIODIVERSITY

(MUST CONFIRM WITH DATA)

The overwhelming majority of studies of regional climate effects on terrestrial species reveal consistent responses to warming trends, including poleward and elevational range shifts of flora and fauna. Responses of terrestrial species to warming across the Northern Hemisphere are well documented by changes in the timing of growth stages (i.e., phenological changes), especially the earlier onset of spring events, migration, and lengthening of the growing season (IPCC, 2007).

An ecosystem is an interdependent, functioning system of plants, animals and microorganisms. An ecosystem can be as large as the Mojave Desert, or as small as a local pond. Without the support of the other organisms within their own ecosystem, life forms would not survive, much less thrive. Such support requires that predators and prey, fire and water, food and shelter, clean air and open space remain in balance with each other and with the environment around them.

Climate is an integral part of ecosystems and organisms have adapted to their regional climate over time. Climate change is a factor that has the potential to alter ecosystems and the many resources and services they provide to each other and to society. Human societies depend on ecosystems for the natural, cultural, spiritual, recreational and aesthetic resources they provide.

In various regions across the world, some high-altitude and high-latitude ecosystems have already been affected by changes in climate. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reviewed relevant published studies of biological systems and concluded that 20 percent to 30 percent of species assessed may be at risk of extinction from climate change impacts within this century if global mean temperatures exceed 2-3 °C (3.6-5.4 °F) relative to pre-industrial levels (IPCC, 2007).

These changes can cause adverse or beneficial effects on species. For example, climate change could benefit certain plant or insect species by increasing their ranges. The resulting impacts on ecosystems and humans, however, could be positive or negative depending on whether these species were invasive (e.g., weeds or mosquitoes) or if they were valuable to humans (e.g., food crops or pollinating insects). The risk of extinction could increase for many species, especially those that are already endangered or at risk due to isolation by geography or human development, low population numbers, or a narrow temperature tolerance range.

Observations of ecosystem impacts are difficult to use in future projections because of the complexities involved in human/nature interactions (e.g., land use change). Nevertheless, the observed changes are compelling examples of how rising temperatures can affect the natural world and raise questions of how vulnerable populations will adapt to direct and indirect effects associated with climate change.

IPCC - ECOSYSTEMS EFFECTED

(THEORY OF FUTURE ECOSYSTEMS EFFECT)

The IPCC (IPCC, 2007) has noted,

During the course of this century the resilience of many ecosystems (their ability to adapt naturally) is likely to be exceeded by an unprecedented combination of change in climate and in other global change drivers (especially land use change and overexploitation), if greenhouse gas emissions and other changes continue at or above current rates. By 2100 ecosystems will be exposed to atmospheric CO2 levels substantially higher than in the past 650,000 years, and global temperatures at least among the highest as those experienced in the past 740,000 years. This will alter the structure, reduce biodiversity and perturb functioning of most ecosystems, and compromise the services they currently provide.

       
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