Truly global woes

While UK faces increased incidence of floods, the US water resources are threatened by global warming

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

as a result of climate change, uk may have to bear the brunt of as many as twelve floods a year. This would be four times the annual average a century ago, and double the present annual average of six, declared the National Flood Warning Centre of the of the uk Environment Agency.

Jim Haywood, head of the centre that is based in Frimley, Surrey, estimated that within 50-100 years the number of floods will have doubled to 12 serious floods a year. Brian Lee professor at Portsmouth University in uk , in a December 14, 2000, report in The Times of London, says the probability of a serious flood happening in any year could double. Lee warned at a gathering that these changes will occur in the lifetime of children born this year.

The news from across the Atlantic is not any better. A report published in the us says climate change during this century could seriously affect water resources in the country . It estimates substantial thawing of the Alaskan permafrost and unprecedented melting of glaciers.

The report, 'Water: the potential consequences of climate variability and change', published by the National Water Assessment Group (nwag), a forum that includes representatives from government, corporate and non-governmental organisations, estimates that the permafrost could retreat northwards by 500 km in the coming 50 years. Among other things, the report makes the following pointers to prove that water cycle in the us is changing:

A mean sea level rise of 10-20 cm since the 1890s.

Unprecedented melting of glaciers.

Significantly declining Arctic ice thickness levels since the 1950s.

The early blooming of vegetation in the spring and summer and longer photosynthesis periods in the autumn.

An annual mean decrease in snow cover by 10 per cent over North America since 1988.

An increase in temperature by 5C in Alaska would eventually melt all of the sub-Arctic permafrost, which would affect more wetland area than is currently found in the rest of the us. It's also feared that rising sea levels may cause seawater to flow into groundwater aquifers and freshwater coastal systems. Areas at greatest risk include Hawaii, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, Long Island, New York, and central coastal California.

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