As population growth continues to explode, food requirements are steadily rising and the number of annual droughts is increasing – which is accelerating the dependence on and demand for groundwater. In fact, already documented climate change stresses on fresh surface water will only exacerbate the situation.
In the December 2012 issue of the journal Nature Climate Change, Simon Fraser University earth scientist Diana Allen and other international scientists detail the danger of groundwater depletion and mismanagement in the article “Ground Water and Climate Change.”
The team notes that previous models have been inaccurate in predicting groundwater changes long-term because they do not have adequate groundwater supply records and mathematical models.
Experts currently predict that sea level will rise by approximately 1 meter globally by the end of the 21st century thanks to climate change. However, the estimate does not take into account the ½ a centimeter rise each year due to groundwater pumping that takes the water stored deep underground and redirects it to the surface of the land. Storm surges and coastal flooding will likely cause more issues by the end of the century.
This study was conducted for and presented to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to assess the impact of climate change on the earth’s groundwater supply.