More than one billion people are forced to drink water from sources contaminated with human waste, devastating floods have resulted in loss of lives, untold material and economic damage, and blistering droughts have resulted in the shortage of available drinking water and rising food insecurity.
Our proposed work investigates how this global water crisis is affected by human-caused land cover change. We propose to examine the impact of the present extent of land cover change on the water cycle, in particular on evapotranspiration and streamflow, through numerical experiments with the ORCHIDEE land surface model.
We will characterise land cover change by assembling and modifying existing global-scale maps of land cover change, producing a map of potential land cover, the land cover expected in the present climate had no human intervention occurred ('potential'), and a map of the present extent of human transformed land ('actual')
To see how the land cover change impacts the water cycle, we will input the maps into ROSEORCHIDEE and run 50-year 'potential' and 'actual' simulations of the land surface and energy fluxes, forced by a 50-year atmospheric forcing data set. We will check the reliability of the results by comparing simulated streamflow with selected ob served streamflow records.
We will examine differences in the two simulations and will produce a global-scale map, which will highlight 'hotspots', locations with the greatest change in streamflow and evapotranspiration, caused by the land cover change.
The 'hotspots' will be examined for their hydrologic sensitivity, for example, whether they are located in arid regions, or if the rivers have existing water shortage or flooding problems.
In this way, the results of the study will provide information to scientists governments and international organizations to aid the identification of the areas in the globe that are undergoing a water crisis that may be caused or exacerbated by land cover change.
Field of science
- /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/water treatment processes/drinking water treatment processes
- /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences/soil science/land-based treatment
Call for proposal
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