Scientists demand global action to preserve water
London (PTI): Scientists from major countries including India have come out with a declaration demanding a region-by-region response to increased water scarcity and heightened hazards.
An international group of scientists from the US, India, China and Britain, in a declaration, have said that 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.
The group convened by University of California San Diego and the University of Cambridge added that this will especially be the case near the Himalayas in Asia and the Sierra Nevada Mountains of the western United States.
More than two dozen international water experts participated in the "Ice, Snow, and Water: Impacts of Climate Change on California and Himalayan Asia" workshop held at UC San Diego recently.
Workshop experts represented the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the UN World Climate Research Programme, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the British Antarctic Survey, and the California Department of Water Resources as well as several American universities.
They 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.
"Solutions to immense problems have small beginnings and we began here," said Sustainability Solutions Institute Senior Strategist Charles Kennel. "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.
Research conducted 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, 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.
Sci. & Tech.