An international team of scientists has found that groundwater reacts much more slowly than surface water bodies to climate change, which could lead to catastrophic consequences in as little as a century.
The study was published in the journal Nature Climate Change, and Science Alert briefly describes it. Scientists note that groundwater reacts very slowly to the rise in temperature above the surface of the planet.
For centuries, mankind has relied on precipitation to replenish groundwater resources. However, this is what researchers have called a “time bomb”. In their opinion, in due course stocks of ground waters will steadily decrease, and demand for them – to grow.
Climate change will result in precipitation not being able to replenish the stockpile as it should. This will lead to water shortages in many parts of the world, and megacities will face water shortages.
Only half of the world’s groundwater resources are fully reactive to changes within the 100-year “human” time frame,” says co-author Mark Cuthbert of Cardiff University. – This means that in many parts of the world, changes in groundwater flows can occur over an extended period of time. It can be described as a time bomb for the environment.
That is, any modern climate change that affects the water supply to the soil will really manifest itself in about a century.
However, this will only happen in dry and arid regions. And in some areas, for example, under the Sahara, groundwater resources are still reacting to climate change 10,000 years ago.
In the humid regions most sensitive to climate change, such as the Amazon and Central Africa, the impact of climate on groundwater may be felt in as little as 10 years.