Climatic Change Impact on Water Resources - A Systems Review

Kundzewicz, Z.W. & Somlyody, L. (1993). Climatic Change Impact on Water Resources - A Systems Review. IIASA Working Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: WP-93-030

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Global climate change related to natural and anthropogenic processes has been the topic of many research projects and high-level debates. Despite the ongoing research efforts, the climate predictions cannot be rated any better than speculative or possible scenarios whose probability of occurrence is, at the present stage, impossible to assess. One of the most significant impacts of the "greenhouse effect" is anticipated to be on water resources management, including different elements of the hydrologic cycle, water supply and demand, regional vulnerability, and water quality. Thus, the impact of climate change appears to be an additional component on top of the large number of stressing (existing and likely future) water related problems.

The existence of the greenhouse effect, the increase of greenhouse gas emissions, and the rise of corresponding concentrations are certain things. However, impacts become increasingly uncertain as we move towards hydrology and water management. For this analysis, we would need information on much smaller spatial and temporal scales (i.e. a basin, a subbasin, or an agglomeration and the duration of rare, short-lasting events, such as floods, droughts or low flow periods) than used in climate studies.

The objective of the present paper is to analyze the climate change impact on water resources from a systems view, to discuss scientific gaps, and to identify the possible future role of IIASA in this subject area.

The report discusses the role of different scales and uncertainties, as well as the hydrological perspective of global circulation models. An essential part of the analysis is devoted to the impact of climate change on the hydrologic cycle and water resources. Subsequently, our preparedness for probable global (climate) change is discussed in terms of assessment, planning, design, adaptation, and others. The focus is obviously on water-related response strategies. Finally, the paper identifies four challenging future research areas for IIASA as follows: (1) Central Europe as a case to study climate change impacts on water resources management; (2) The application of a pre-hydrological model to probabilistically assess the rainfall pattern of a river basin; (3) Methodological research to study water management vulnerability with a strong focus on uncertainties (including methods and concepts such as the Delphi technique, Bayesian statistics, reliability resilience, vulnerability, robustness, and surprises); and (4) The impact of climate change on water quality.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Working Paper)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:02
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:14

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