NASA reveals major changes in worldwide water availability

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NASA reveals major changes in worldwide water availability‘KTVAMapping changes in world’s water, NASA scientists find ‘human fingerprint’ in many areas‘The Desert SunHumans Are Changing the Location of Water Around the World, NASA Says‘The Weather ChannelWater shortages to be key environmental challenge of the century, Nasa warns‘The GuardianFirst-of-its-kind study combines NASA satellite observations of Earth with data on human activities to map where–and ‘‘Science Daily

Earth has experienced significant shifts in freshwater distribution across the globe thanks to climate change, water management and natural cycles, among other factors, according to a NASA study.

"What we are witnessing is major hydrologic change," said Jay Famiglietti of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "We see a distinctive pattern of the wetland areas of the world getting wetter — those are the high latitudes and the tropics — and the dry areas in between getting dryer. Embedded within the dry areas we see multiple hotspots resulting from groundwater depletion."

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Mapping changes in world’s water, NASA scientists find ‘human fingerprint’ in many areas

‘It’s scary.’ A NASA study reveals major shifts in water worldwide, and researchers see widespread human impacts

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Using measurements from Earth-observing satellites, NASA scientists have tracked changes in water supplies worldwide and they’ve found that in many places humans are dramatically altering the global water map.

The team of researchers analyzed 14 years of data from NASA’s twin GRACE satellites and studied regions that have seen large increases or decreases in the total amount of freshwater, including water in lakes and rivers and water stored in underground aquifers, soil, snow and ice.’

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Humans Are Changing the Location of Water Around the World, NASA Says

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The location of fresh water around the world is continually changing, and humans are the driving force behind the moves, according to a new’study by NASA scientists.

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‘The human fingerprint is all over changing freshwater availability. We see it in large-scale overuse of groundwater. We see it as a driver of climate change,’ said Jay Famiglietti, a co-author of the research who is the senior water scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. ‘The study shows that humans have really drastically altered the global water landscape in a very profound way.’

Water shortages to be key environmental challenge of the century, Nasa warns

Some of these hotspots were previously undocumented or poorly understood: a region in north-western China, in Xinjiang province, has suffered dramatic declines despite receiving normal amounts of rainfall, owing to groundwater depletion from industry and irrigation.

The comprehensive study, the first of its kind, took data from the Nasa Grace (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) satellite mission to track trends in freshwater from 2002 to 2016 across the globe.

‘What we are witnessing is major hydrologic change. We see for the first time a very distinctive pattern of the wet land areas of the world getting wetter, in the high latitudes and the tropics, and the dry areas in between getting drier,’ said James Famiglietti, of the Nasa Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, and co-author of the paper published today in Nature. ‘Within the dry areas we see multiple hotspots resulting from groundwater depletion.’

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  • Publisher: the Guardian
  • Date: 2018-05-16T17:00:05.000Z
  • Author: Fiona Harvey
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