22 Apr 2009:
Climate Change Threatens
World's Great Rivers, Study Says
Some of the world’s major rivers are drying up
, with climate change being a major contributing factor, according to a new study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research
. The problem is particularly acute in densely populated regions where communities depend on the rivers for food and water supplies, including those near the Niger in West Africa and the Ganges in South Asia, according to the study, which will be published next month in the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate
. “In the subtropics this is devastating, but the continent affected most is Africa,” said the center's Kevin Trenberth. While researchers said direct human influence
such as dam construction and the diversion of rivers for agriculture was a factor, that influence "is likely small" compared to changes in climate. The scientists looked at data and computer models of the flow of 925 rivers from 1948 to 2004, and found that about one-third of the rivers have been affected by climate change; of those, twice as many saw a decrease in flow as those that saw flow increase. Many of the rivers that had increased flow are near the Arctic Ocean, where ice and snow is now melting more rapidly than before, according to the report.
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A look at how acidifying oceans could threaten the Dungeness crab, one of the most valuable fisheries on the U.S. West Coast. Watch the video.
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An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
An indigenous tribe’s deadly fight to save its ancestral land in the Amazon rainforest from logging. Learn more.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
Residents of the Chocó Rainforest in Ecuador are choosing to plant cacao over logging in an effort to slow deforestation.
Watch the video.
Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.