Humans drive future water scarcity changes across all Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (2020)

By Neal T Graham, Mohamad I Hejazi, Min Chen, Evan G R Davies, James A Edmonds, Son H Kim, Sean W D Turner, Xinya Li, Chris R Vernon, Katherine Calvin in Environmental Research Letters

Future changes in climate and socioeconomic systems will drive both the availability and use of water resources, leading to evolutions in scarcity. The contributions of both systems can be quantified individually to understand the impacts around the world, but also combined to explore how the coevolution of energy-water-land systems affects not only the driver behind water scarcity changes, but how human and climate systems interact in tandem to alter water scarcity. Here we investigate the relative contributions of climate and socioeconomic systems on water scarcity under the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways-Representative Concentration Pathways framework. While human systems dominate changes in water scarcity independent of socioeconomic or climate future, the sign of these changes depend particularly on the socioeconomic scenario. Under specific socioeconomic futures, human-driven water scarcity reductions occur in up to 44% of the global land area by the end of the century.


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