In this paper we presented a summary of the current knowledge in the area of climate change impacts on Turkish water resources with emphasis on past and predicted future trends in atmospheric variables (precipitation, temperature) and hydrologic variables (streamflow and groundwater levels). In general terms, many studies reported that warming trend has been prevailing in Turkey since early 1990s. The most significant changes have been reported for the Mediterranean climate region (western and southern Turkey) with increase in temperatures and decrease in precipitation. Prominent long-term observed changes that are consistent over Turkey include increase in annual minimum temperatures and summer temperatures and decrease in winter precipitation. Streamflow and groundwater levels are found to respond to the changes in atmospheric variables, indicating potential water scarcity problems in many regions. This situation is exacerbated due to population growth and over-exploitation of water resources. Climate modeling studies generally predict likely intensification of the observed trends in hydro-meteorologic variables by the end of the twenty-first century based on IPCC emission scenarios.
Hence global warming will likely worsen already existing water scarcity and water allocation problems in Turkey, especially in the western and southern regions. To better assess the evolving impacts of global warming on - both quality and quantity of - water resources, basin-scale impact assessment studies that utilize coupled land surface and regional climate model outputs are needed together with a method for quantification of the prediction uncertainty. Studies that help to understand isolated influences of human impacts and natural weather patterns (and their interaction) on the observed climatic change are also needed.
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