The Colorado River (U.S.) is among rivers worldwide that have been affected by a warming Earth.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey
As World Warms, Water Levels Dropping in Major Rivers
News story originally written on April 21, 2009
Less water is now flowing in some of the world’s largest rivers.
A team of scientists studied hundreds of the Earth’s largest rivers. They looked at how much water has been flowing in rivers over the past 50 years. These rivers hold about three-quarters of all the water flowing through rivers worldwide.
The scientists found that rivers have less water in some places and more water in other places. Most of the rivers that have less water are in areas where large numbers of people live. This could mean that there will be less food and water for people living in those regions.
The scientists also found that there is now more water flowing in rivers in the Arctic where snow and ice are melting as the planet warms.
The scientists found that less water in rivers is probably due to global climate change. Climate change is causing amounts of precipitation to change in different regions of the world. Warmer temperatures are also increasing the amount of evaporation.
Last modified September 4, 2009 by Lisa Gardiner.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, as well as books
on science education!
You might also be interested in:
Rivers are very important to Earth because they are major forces that shape the landscape. Also, they provide transportation and water for drinking, washing and farming. Rivers can flow on land or underground...more
Have you ever left a glass of water out for a long time? Did you notice that the water disappears after a few days? That's because it evaporated! Evaporation is when water passes from a liquid to a gas....more
Scientists have learned that Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest mountain, has erupted in the past due to the mixing of two different types of magma. Adam Kent, a geologist at Oregon State University, says this...more
The Earth's mantle is a rocky, solid shell that is between the Earth's crust and the outer core. The mantle is made up of many different reservoirs that have different chemical compositions. Scientists...more
Some faults look strong and like they wouldn’t cause an earthquake. But it turns out that they can slip and slide like weak faults causing earthquakes. Scientists have been looking at one of these faults...more
The sun goes through cycles that last approximately 11 years. These solar cycle include phases with more magnetic activity, sunspots, and solar flares. They also include phases with less activity. The...more
Studying tree rings doesn't only tell us the age of that tree. Tree rings also show what climate was like while the tree was alive. This means that tree rings can tell us about climates of the past. Two...more