How Climate Change is Contributing to the Water Crisis

Once it was thought that the only problems hampering clean and safe water was through direct human pollution put into the environment; it wasn’t thought that the effects of the negative human contribution spanned so much wider. With human-aided acceleration to climate change, more specifics are gathered on a day-to-day basis. The findings reveal that not only is the water being tainted, but the sources of many great rivers, which are a source of life and prosperity, are poised to vanish completely.

Whether it is rivers lost to melting glaciers or water deprived areas due to drought or even floods due to un-seasonal rains, the world water situation is at an unprecedented crisis point. Areas aside, people and animals suffer from either not having water to drink or drown in the excess at varying parts of the year. Despite the natural warming conditions of the planet, the more recent climate change is more of a direct human cause.

It’s ironic to think the very fire humanity used to keep itself alive over the millennia is the main source of current world problems and warming. With the fire it isn’t the heat that causes the warming, but the soot and smoke that creates warming situations at higher elevations through the formation and distribution of a pollution cloud known as a Brown Cloud. Brown Clouds aren’t exactly a climate change in itself, but a major contributor to the process and the lead cause for melting glaciers at higher elevations. These melting occurrences are the main threat to the replenishing of the ice sheets come winter months. This means that unless corrected, the glaciers will disappear and the rivers they feed will dry up, effectively destroying entire populations of river water-dependent people.

Aside from the man made pollution contributions to the problem, the general warming of the planet is creating many changes. Starting with the melting of sea and land ice at the poles, the melting of permafrost that releases more greenhouse gas into the atmosphere to increase the problem further, ice lost will add more fresh water to the oceans and the level will rise.

With the rising oceans, the heat from the sun is increasingly absorbed by the water and aids the melting process and also threatens the exchange of warm waters from the equator and the colder water at the poles. This exchange rate is what forms currents, and the currents are the main influence on weather around the world. If the currents die from the warmer waters, then many areas will either get more or less rain than before.

So far this phenomenon has been witnessed both in the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. With the main emphasis relating to the hurricanes and monsoons, there has been a change in the activity of both. In the Atlantic Ocean, hurricanes have been gradually gaining in strength as the surface waters, the main source of power for a hurricane, have increased in temperature.

With the increased rainfall causing floods, drinking water is often tainted by contaminants that would normal remain separate from rising waters. Powerful storm surge like what was seen with the devastating hurricane Katrina in 2005, not only pushed waves of salt water far inshore, but caused that salt to kill forests useful for absorbing excess waters. Also, salt water absorbed into the land was a serious contaminant for ground waters and aquifers.

For the Pacific region, monsoons that feed off the evaporating surface temperatures of the water have led to the creation of larger storms that drop more water on areas of Southeast Asia. Over in the Indian Ocean, the surface cooling affects of the prolific aforementioned Brown Clouds have cooled surface temperatures by blocking sunlight and have resulted in the weakening of important summer monsoons.

Without the drenching affects of the typical monsoon, many parts of India are reeling from the effects of drought and lack of water. The general lack of water not only affects people, but everything dependant upon it, such as crops and livestock. Other areas across the world are feeling different changes in the weather altogether.

With a world already filled with more people than can be readily supported by the little available quantities of fresh water already, the changing of world weather patterns and climate is a discouraging process. Though it is doubtful change would have effect now, an attempt at stopping contributing human acts may slow it, leaving more time to adapt to the changes. However, until change is met with change of ways, the world will continue to feel the effects of the climate changes and the progressing water crisis.