Climate crisis is causing lakes to shrink – surroundings

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While global sea levels are rising because of the climate crisis and threatening near-coastal infrastructures, higher temperatures in other areas are having precisely the contrary effect. The water levels are falling and also causing massive problems.

Despite the fact that the consequences are equally serious, on the other hand, declining water levels are receiving less attention according to Matthias Prange, Thomas Wilke of the Justus Liebig University in Giessen, and Frank P. Wesselingh of the University of Utrecht and the Naturalis Biodiversity Center Leiden (the Netherlands).

“The Caspian Sea may also be viewed as representative of many other lakes on the earth. Many of us don’t seem to be even aware that an inland lake is dramatically shrinking because of climate change, as our models indicate,” says Matthias Prange. The outline of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also failed to mention lakes, and disregarded the social, political, and economic consequences of global warming on the affected regions.

“This has to change. We need more studies and a better understanding of the consequences of global warming in this region.” The goal should be to bring awareness of the consequences of climate change for inland seas and lakes in order that appropriate strategies may also be developed, including approaches for other large lakes and regions facing similar challenges.

As a result of its size (it’s the largest lake on the earth) and on account of its slightly high salinity of approximately one per cent, which is approximately one-third of the salt concentration in the oceans, the Caspian has been named a ‘Sea’. Its largest influx is the Volga River and it has no natural connection to the ocean. The water level is made up our minds by the proportional influences of influx, precipitation and evaporation. Global warming is causing increased evaporation, which leads to a declining water level.

The Caspian Sea is a very powerful regional water reservoir and, despite its salt satisfied, a organic and commercial centre. It is bounded by Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia. Depending on the degree of global warming at some point, the water level could fall by 9 to 18 meters right through this century.

“This would impact not only the biodiversity, quite a lot of species, and habitats that would disappear. The economies of all of the bordering countries would be impacted, including harbours, fisheries and fish farming.”

Because of this, the authors argue that at some point the Caspian Sea will have to be used for example in scientific research to evaluate the vulnerability of sure regions to falling water levels. Because no nation can solve the resulting conflicts alone, they suggest a global task force to develop and coordinate strategies.

The article suggests that “international climate funds” could offer a opportunity for financing projects and adaptation measures whether changes in the lake level are attributed to climate change.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)

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