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Title: Sensitivity of Future U.S. Water Shortages to Socioeconomic and Climate Drivers: A Case Study in Georgia Using an Integrated Human-Earth System Modeling Framework

One of the most important interactions between humans and climate is in the demand and supply of water. Humans withdraw, use, and consume water and return waste water to the environment for a variety of socioeconomic purposes, including domestic, commercial ,and industrial use, production of energy resources and cooling thermal-electric power plants, and growing food, fiber, and chemical feedstocks for human consumption. Uncertainties in the future human demand for water and in the future impacts of climatic change on water supplies are expected to impinge on policy decisions at the international, national, regional, and local level, but until recently tools were not available to assess the uncertainties surrounding these decisions. This paper demonstrates the use of a multi-model framework in a structured sensitivity analysis to project and quantify uncertainty in deficits in future surface water in the context of climate and socioeconomic change for all U.S. states and sub-basins. The framework treats all sources of water demand and supply consistently from the world to local level. The paper features an illustrative case study of a river basin in Georgia within the South Atlantic-Gulf Basin. Despite a substantial climate-related uncertainty in water supplies, the uncertainty with the largest impact on deficitsmore » was identified as growth of irrigation demand. Potential adaptive responses are discussed.« less
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
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Journal Name: Climatic Change, 136(2):233-246
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
climate change; water; deficits; model; uncertainty