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How will global warming impact water availability?

May 16, 2012 at 10:34 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 16 (UPI) -- A general increase in average temperatures means there's less snowmelt feeding river basins in the United States, a study found.

The U.S. Geological Survey said climate change projections indicate a general warming trend through the 21st century. This should result in snowpack reductions, which could play a role in everything from soil moisture to stream flows.

So far, the USGS said it reviewed expected changes in water availability in 14 different river basins across the country.

USGS Director Marcia McNutt said the information gleaned from the study could help resource managers prepare for changes in the hydrological future.

"The predictions account for essential local factors that will govern the timing, severity, and type of impact, whether it be water shortage, drought, or flood," McNutt said in a statement.

The USGS study was based on a general predictive model, and the findings vary based on local conditions.

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