Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Major rivers dryer because of climate change

Some of the world's largest rivers, especially in developing countries are drying up. Scientists believe this is mostly due to climate change, which is altering rainfall patterns and increasing evaporation because of higher average temperatures. Among the big rivers that have become significantly dryer are the Niger in West Africa, the Ganges in South Asia and the Yellow River in China.

With many river becoming dryer there is increased pressure on freshwater resources in much of the world, especially in developing countries. In the meantime demand for water is becoming bigger as the world population increases, and it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to satisfy this demand in years to come. Water could very soon become the most precious resource on our planet, even now there are many places around the world faced with water scarcity problem, and things are looking to become much worse which could jeopardize the lives of many people across the globe.

Rivers are not only becoming dryer because of climate change, climate change is the main factor but not the only one. There are other factors too, like for instance the installation of dams and the use of water for agriculture. Scientists are not optimistic even about the rivers whose flow has increased in the past couple of years like The Brahmaputra in India and China's Yangtze River. Though these two rivers had stable or even higher flows they are also very likely to become dryer in years to come because Himalayan glaciers are rapidly melting.

Situation with world's water resources is the problem of far greater magnitude than many think it is, and what the world needs is excellent water management plan, especially in developing countries. Of course the more climate change impact strengthens the harder it will be to come up with such plan so we should first take care of climate change, and then turn our attention to water resources. Everybody knows that there's no life without water, and we should be really doing our best to ensure enough water for future generations.

This study was carried out by the researchers from the US-based National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). NCAR scientists analyzed data combined with computer models to assess flow in 925 rivers - nearly three quarters of the world's running water supply - in period between 1948 and 2004.

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