Natural and anthropogenic change in climate conditions will have evolving impacts on water resources. The Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are increasingly making more definitive statements about the role of
Department of Geological Engineering, Middle East Technical University, 06531 Ankara, Turkey e-mail: [email protected]
anthropogenic forcing in climate change: "Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-twentieth century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations" . Human activities - primarily the combustion of fossil fuels and clearing of forests - have greatly boosted the concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHG). Because many GHGs stay in the atmosphere for more than a century, warming is expected to continue during the twenty-second century, even if emissions are stabilized soon.
Most of the damaging consequences of global warming are associated with water cycle, including changes in amount/pattern of precipitation, evapotranspiration, runoff and groundwater recharge, melting of snow/ice, intensification of extreme events (floods, droughts) and rise in sea levels. These changes will have a diverse impact on ecosystem functioning and will unfold much vulnerability to the society in health, food, energy and settlement sectors.
In a warming environment the already hot and semi-arid climate of southern Europe is expected to become warmer with less rainfall, prolonged dry spells and increased evaporation, thus increasing the frequency of droughts . Therefore, Turkey, already approaching physical water scarcity, is highly vulnerable to climatic change. This situation is further exacerbated by rapidly increasing population. In this paper we present 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 hydro-meteorological variables.
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