‘Climate change will impact every aspect of biophysical systems and society. However, unlike other components of the climate system, the impact of climate change on the groundwater system has only recently received attention. This focus is due to the realization that groundwater is a vital freshwater resource crucial to global food and water security, and is essential in sustaining ecosystems and human adaptation to climate variability and change’ (Amobichukwu et al., 2020).
‘Groundwater is a valuable resource that supplies many of the hydrologic needs of people and habitats globally, constitutes a safety net against climate change, contributes to streams in rivers and lakes, supports the proper functioning of aquifers, and can foster economic activities. A sustainable and prosperous future depends on subsurface water…. However, climate change is putting our imminent future at risk. Both groundwater quantity and quality are being affected by extended periods of droughts and floods caused by extreme events and increased variability in precipitation due to climate change….The prominent role that groundwater plays in water supply and food security in a changing climate is evident’ (Impakter, 2020).
‘Climate change does not only affects groundwater quantity, but also its quality. Sea level rise may lead to salt water intrusion into coastal aquifers affecting groundwater quality and contaminating drinking water sources’ (IGRAC, 2020).
‘RISING SEAS, RISING CONCERNS
Climate change may not cause a particular storm, but rising sea levels can worsen its impact. In 2012 a nine-foot storm surge from Hurricane Sandy hit New York City at high tide, making the water 14 feet higher than normal at the tip of Manhattan. Flooding destroyed neighborhoods and beaches in outer boroughs. The sea level in this area is rising by more than an inch each decade—twice as fast as the global average—and is predicted to rise 11 to 21 inches by 2050. To prepare, the city is implementing coastal resiliency measures: A multiuse project will create more green spaces for city residents as well as a system of floodwalls, berms, and retractable barriers for enhanced storm protection’ (National Geography, 2015).
‘As humans continue to pour greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, oceans have tempered the effect. The world’s seas have absorbed more than 90 percent of the heat from these gases, but it’s taking a toll on our oceans: 2018 set a new record for ocean heating. Many people think of global warming and climate change as synonyms, but scientists prefer to use “climate change” when describing the complex shifts now affecting our planet’s weather and climate systems. Rising seas is one of those climate change effects. Average sea levels have swelled over 8 inches (about 23 cm) since 1880, with about three of those inches gained in the last 25 years. Every year, the sea rises another .13 inches (3.2 mm)’ (Nunez, 2019).
‘The two major causes of global sea level rise are thermal expansion caused by warming of the ocean (since water expands as it warms) and increased melting of land-based ice, such as glaciers and ice sheets. The oceans are absorbing more than 90 percent of the increased atmospheric heat associated with emissions from human activity’ (National Ocean Service, 2020).
‘Dr Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre, added: “The climate statistics over time reveal an undeniable warming trend for the UK. We are also reporting on changes in other aspects of our weather and environment such as rainfall, snow, sunshine, sea level and even tree leafing dates. The observed changes are to varying degrees a consequence of both global climate change and natural variability in our climate. A comprehensive report such as the State of Climate provides the basis for ongoing research to better document and understand the climatic changes that we can expect in future.” The UK rainfall total for 2019 was 1,227 mm, 107% of the 1981–2010 average, and 112% of the 1961-1990 average. Most of the UK received above average rainfall, with the exception of parts of East Anglia and the Home Counties, western and northern Scotland and Shetland’ (Madge, 2020).
Amobichukwu C. Amanambu, Omon A. Obarein, Joann Mossa, Lanhai Li, Shamusideen S. Ayeni, Olalekan Balogun, Abiola Oyebamiji, Friday U. Ochege. (2020). Groundwater system and climate change: Present status and future considerations, Journal of Hydrology, Volume 589, 125163, ISSN 0022-1694.
IGRAC (2020). Groundwater & Climate Change. https://www.un-igrac.org/areas-expertise/groundwater-climate-change
Impakter (2020). The Effects of Climate Change on Groundwater: An Out-Of-Sight Crisis. Available from: https://impakter.com/the-effects-of-climate-change-on-groundwater-an-out-of-sight-crisis/ (29/12/2020)
Madge (2020). Increasing influence of climate change on UK climate. https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/press-office/news/weather-and-climate/2020/state-of-the-uk-climate-report-2019
National Geographic (2015). Wild Weather. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/climate-change/how-to-live-with-it/weather.html
National Ocean Service (2020). Is sea level rising? https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/sealevel.html
Nunez, C. (2019). Sea level rise, explained. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/sea-level-rise/