Jul 1, 2009
Environmental Research Letters
Atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs), prominently carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and halocarbons, have risen from fossil-fuel combustion, deforestation, agriculture, and industry. There is currently heated national and international debate about the consequences of such increasing concentrations of GHGs on the Earth’s climate, and, ultimately, on life and society in the world as we know it. This paper reviews (i) long-term patterns of climate change, secular climatic variability, and predicted population growth and their relation to water resources management, and, specifically, to ground water resources management, (ii) means available for mitigating and adapting to trends of climatic change and climatic variability and their impacts on ground water resources. Long-term (that is, over hundreds of millions of years), global-scale, climatic fluctuations are compared with more recent (in the Holocene) patterns of the global and regional climates to shed light on the meaning of rising mean surface temperature over the last century or so, especially in regions whose historical hydroclimatic records exhibit large inter-annual variability. One example of regional ground water resources response to global warming and population growth is presented.