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The Colorado River has lost more than a billion tons of water as a result of climate change, the study finds

The Colorado River has lost more than a billion tons of water in the last century due to climate change, the study finds

  • The flow of the Colorado River decreased by 20% from 1913 to 2017
  • Data show that the current fell 9.3% for any temperature rise above 1.8 degrees
  • Global warming results in less snowfall and increasing water evaporation

Climate change has found its way to the Colorado River.

A new geological survey has shown that the flow of the massive river has fallen by 20 percent in the last century and that climate change is the cause of more than half of the loss.

Researchers discovered that global warming reduces the amount of snow, which increases the evaporation of the water.

Data show that the river lacks around 1.5 billion tons of water, which is equivalent to the annual water consumption of 10 million Americans.

The team discovered that the current dropped 9.3 percent for any temperature rise above 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Climate change has found its way to the Colorado River. A new geological survey has shown that the flow of the massive river has fallen by 20 percent in the last century and that climate change is the cause of more than half of the loss

Climate change has found its way to the Colorado River. A new geological survey has shown that the flow of the massive river has fallen by 20 percent in the last century and that climate change is the cause of more than half of the loss

Two scientists from the US Geological Survey discovered the decrease by developing a mathematical model of the water movements in the upper basin of the Colorado River for the period from 1913 to 2017.

The duo collected historical data on the temperature and precipitation of the river in the last century, as well as radiation measurements.

They noted that global warming has led each year to a reduction in the snow package or the amount of snow that accumulates.

So when there is less and less snow, it melts earlier in the spring.

With less snow on the ground, the ground absorbed more sunlight in the river basin – instead of being reflected away by the snow.

Two scientists from the US Geological Survey discovered the decrease by developing a mathematical model of the water movements in the upper catchment area of ​​the Colorado for the period from 1913 to 2017

Two scientists from the US Geological Survey discovered the decrease by developing a mathematical model of the water movements in the upper catchment area of ​​the Colorado for the period from 1913 to 2017

Two scientists from the US Geological Survey discovered the decrease by developing a mathematical model of the water movements in the upper catchment area of ​​the Colorado for the period from 1913 to 2017

The Colorado River Basin gradually loses more water due to evaporation as the sunlight reflecting snow jacket disappears, ”write the authors, USGS senior resource scientist Chris Milly and natural scientist Krista A. Dunne.

The Colorado River extends over 1,450 miles from Mexico to the Rocky Mountains and supplies water to seven US states – about 40 million Americans live in this area dependent on the river.

Milly and her colleague natural scientist Krista A. Dunne analyzed 960 different areas in the Upper Colorado River Basin to see how a decrease in snow accumulation could affect the annual flow of the river.

“The region is ready to heat even more in the coming years,” Milly said Washington Post, “and it is not” likely “that precipitation can compensate for these warmer and drier conditions.”

“That power, we estimate, would have been reduced from 14 to 31 percent just because of the warming in 2050.”

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