Hydrology

Snow-fed water supply threatened

Journal name:
Nature
Volume:
527,
Pages:
412–413
Date published:
DOI:
doi:10.1038/527412d
Published online

The southwestern United States, the Iberian Peninsula and parts of the Middle East and other regions are at risk of seasonal water shortages resulting from decreasing snowfall in a warming climate.

Justin Mankin at Columbia University in New York and his colleagues looked at projections from various climate models to determine how warming might affect snowfall and river run-off in more than 400 large basins in the Northern Hemisphere. The team identified a dozen or so snow-sensitive basins that, across all climate models, face an 80–100% risk of declining water supply in the coming decades. Each of the sensitive basins has a current population of more than 1 million people — including the Rio Grande basin spanning Texas and Mexico, the Ebro–Duero basin in Spain and the Asi basin in Lebanon and Syria.

Environ. Res. Lett. 10, 114016 (2015)

Additional data