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New Ornl Tool Developed to Assess Global Freshwater Stress


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Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Photo courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers have developed a method to make better use of large amounts of data concerning global geography, population, and climate, which could help determine the relative importance of population increases compared to climate change.

The technique enables researchers to conduct assessments that provide critical information to policymakers and stakeholders. Although the results of the study highlight areas potentially vulnerable to water shortages, the researchers note that this set of calculations is based on just one set of variables from the climate model with static population growth rates applied on a per-country basis.

The researchers used ORNL's high-resolution Global LandScan population distribution dataset as well as population projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which enabled them to estimate changes in freshwater demand by 2025, 2050, and 2100. The researchers tested the tool by inputting four IPCC greenhouse gas emissions scenarios, and global population projections, to arrive at different potential scenarios.

The study suggests that by 2100, as much as 75 percent of the world's population could be at risk of freshwater shortages.

From Oak Ridge National Laboratory
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Abstracts Copyright © 2012 Information Inc. External Link, Bethesda, Maryland, USA 


 

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