Will European Russia run out of water because of climate change: Maria Sidorova


dried out earth with a pair of feet standing on it

In the laboratory of hydrology of the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Maria and her colleagues found out which regions of the European territory of Russia in the future will most of all suffer from a lack of water. The corresponding data was published in a separate chapter of the printed and electronic version of the book “Water Resources Management: Methods, Applications and Challenges” in the series “Water Resource Planning, Development and Management”, indexed in the Web of Science (Nova Science Publishers, New York ).

Against the background of rapid climatic changes taking place in the 21st century, the assessment of changes in river flow and its extreme characteristics is becoming especially relevant. This issue is further accentuated by the existing shortage of water resources, as well as the deterioration of the ecological state of water systems in areas of intensive water consumption and increased anthropogenic load. These include a significant part of the European Territory of Russia (ETR), especially the southern regions. Based on an ensemble of 12 climate models of the general circulation of the atmosphere and the ocean (AOGCM) of the CMIP 5 (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project) project, which most reliably reflects the regional climate, scientists from the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences have shown probable changes in the average long-term river runoff within the ETR in the 21st century. According to the RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 scenarios, oppositely directed changes in the frequency of extremely dry years were revealed.

“As a result of our research, we found that there may be an insignificant decrease in the likelihood of dry years in the center and north of the study area – both by the middle of the 21st century and by its end,” says one of the authors, expert of the Hydrology Laboratory of the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences Maria Sidorova … “At the same time, in the southern part of the Russian Plain, by the end of the 21st century, the average long-term river runoff is likely to decrease by almost 2 times in some regions and the frequency of extremely dry years will increase by 2-4 times, and in some regions – by 6-8 times”.

Within the framework of the concept of anthropogenically induced climate changes, the main method for ultra-long-term forecasting of river runoff changes is calculations using numerical models of the general atmospheric circulation combined with models of the ocean, ice sheet and land surface (AOGCM). At the same time, modern AOGCMs reproduce runoff characteristics with noticeable errors. “Our tasks also included the development of regional methodologies that would make it possible to maximize the use of data from AOGCMs at the current level of their development to assess the extreme characteristics of river flow in the future,” says Maria Sidorova. – To do this, we needed to answer a number of important questions regarding the general circulation models of the CMIP-5 project, including which ensemble of models most accurately describes the modern climate, its trends and other statistical parameters, will there be dependencies obtained for the modern period, work in a changing climate ”.

Maria Sidorova
Researcher, Dept. of Hydrology, Institute of Geography
Russian Academy of Sciences
119017, Staromonetny per. 29, Moscow, Russia

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