Climate Change Affecting Pathways Of Water

Scientists with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy, are working with Google engineers and using millions of satellite images to show how rivers, lakes and other water bodies have changed over three decades.
The project, available on, shows in great detail how climate change and other human activities affect pathways of water that covers a million square miles of the Earth’s land surface. The New York Times has reported that results of the project will allow researchers to find evidence of effects of climate change around the world.
Scientists have also prepared maps of the world’s waters by using Landsat satellite images from three archives. These images were taken from 1984 to 2015. They not only studied three million high-resolution images, but also processed 10,000 images in the cloud using Google’s Earth Engine platform. The maps show where and when open water was present on the Earth’s surface between March 1984 and October 2015. The maps further display water surfaces that are visible from space – rivers, lakes, coastal margins and wetlands – and artificial water bodies formed by dams, flood irrigation and hydro-engineering projects.
The maps show some rivers drying up, some others filling up empty pits in India and Bangladesh’s Sunderbans, Tamil Nadu’s Ramanathapuram, Brahmaputra River and the US’ Mead River, among others. The map of the land just beyond the Sunderbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest and the UNESCO World heritage site, shows that over 30 years, many of the fields have been converted to fishponds and the area of land persistently under water has increased.
Meanwhile, the Arctic Report Card 2016 revealed that the Arctic shattered heat records in the past year, as unusually warm air triggered massive melting of ice and snow and a late fall freeze. The Report Card, a peer-reviewed document by 61 scientists around the globe, has been issued by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The report covered the period from October 2015 to September 2016 – a period when the Arctic’s average annual air temperature over land was the highest on record.
As per the Report, the Arctic region is continuing to warm up more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet. On September 10, sea ice cover reached its annual minimum extent in the Arctic. This time, the sea ice cover around the North Pole was the second lowest ever recorded. The extent of multi-year ice cover has also shrunk. Compared to 1900, the annual air temperature in the Arctic was 3.5 degrees Celsius higher in 2015-16. Similarly, the sea surface temperature was at its peak in August and the temperature was 5 degrees Celsius higher than the 1982-2010 average.
After considering the situation, the Joint Research Centre in Ispra has urged the international community to take all the necessary steps to fight global warming.


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