Climate Change and How it Affects Water Sources

Climate, Rain and Human/Animal Adaption are interconnected in a complex life system. 
Climate and rain influence where humans and animals live, and humans affect the climate and rain through second hand impacts such as farming, manufacturing, gas emission and contamination. Today we will look at how Climate change, specifically warming temperatures, affect the Earth we care for and our water supply.

Increased Temperatures
Global Warming is the rise in global temperatures driven by an abundance of greenhouse gas emissions into Earth’s atmosphere. Hotter Temperatures increase the amount of evaporation of surface water on land, oceans and other bodies of water.
In freezing areas, a slight increase in temperature allow ice to melt earlier.

A Change in Rainfall Patterns
Rainfall is critical for nature to thrive. The evaporation cycle will happen at a higher rate and can dry out already dry areas, causing droughts. With more evaporation, more water in the atmosphere will fall down as rain in different areas or already wet areas, making them even wetter, being the source of flooding and essentially harm the ecosystems which have adapted to the current rainfall levels.

Increased Sea Level
Ice sheets, caps and glaciers melt as a result of warmer temperatures and will raise sea levels, can harm coastal cities and possibly “contaminate fresh water supplies…Rising sea levels could push saltwater into freshwater aquifers, making the water unusable for dinking or irrigation unless it’s treated using an energy-intensive process” (Huntington, 2017).

Water Pollution Growth
Algal Blooms are the result of excess levels of Nitrogen and Phosphorus in the water which can be cause by human activity such as agriculture and farming animals. These blooms thrive on oxygen and can suffocate the wildlife that live in the environment, and in severe instances, cause dead zones where no fish can live. Some Algae produce toxins that are deadly to fish, humans and other animals that come into contact with it. (WWF)

In areas that get too much rain, runoff will sweep away fertilizers, chemicals, trash and other contaminants into lakes, rivers and sewage systems that we use for water supplies.

Spike in Demand for Drinking Water
With hotter weather, added evaporation and the continuous growth of the world population, the need individual need for water will increase along with scarcity.

“As certain areas experience more droughts, we’ll have to more frequently transport water where it is needed. Rising water levels in other areas may necessitate infrastructure changes. Both of these essential measures may result in more emissions and more used energy” (Huntington, 2017).

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Sources and Further Readings:

Huntington, Scott. (2017). How Climate Change Impacts Our Water Supply. https://www.triplepundit.com/story/2017/how-climate-change-impacts-our-water-supply/20361

World Wildlife Foundation. Pollution. https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/pollution

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