Multimodel assessment of water scarcity under climate change

H.J. Schellnhuber, J. Heinke, D. Gerten, I. Haddeland, N.W. Arnell, D.B. Clark, R. Dankers, S. Eisner, P. Kabat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

676 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Water scarcity severely impairs food security and economic prosperity in many countries today. Expected future population changes will, in many countries as well as globally, increase the pressure on available water resources. On the supply side, renewable water resources will be affected by projected changes in precipitation patterns, temperature, and other climate variables. Here we use a large ensemble of global hydrological models (GHMs) forced by five global climate models and the latest greenhouse-gas concentration scenarios (Representative Concentration Pathways) to synthesize the current knowledge about climate change impacts on water resources. We show that climate change is likely to exacerbate regional and global water scarcity considerably. In particular, the ensemble average projects that a global warming of 2 °C above present (approximately 2.7 °C above preindustrial) will confront an additional approximate 15% of the global population with a severe decrease in water resources and will increase the number of people living under absolute water scarcity (
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3245-3250
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume111
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • future food-production
  • model description
  • bias correction
  • river runoff
  • resources
  • availability
  • vulnerability
  • uncertainty
  • scenarios
  • trends

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    Cite this

    Schellnhuber, H. J., Heinke, J., Gerten, D., Haddeland, I., Arnell, N. W., Clark, D. B., Dankers, R., Eisner, S., & Kabat, P. (2014). Multimodel assessment of water scarcity under climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(9), 3245-3250. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1222460110