Jerusalem's soil water reserves predicted to be depleted by the end of the century

Jerusalem's soil water reserves predicted to be depleted by the end of the century
Jerusalem's soil water reserves predicted to be depleted by the end of the century

A study of the hydrological history of Jerusalem over the past 4, 5 thousand years shows that by the end of the 21st century, a further increase in average annual temperatures will significantly reduce the amount of groundwater in the soils of the city. The research results were published in the scientific journal Science Advances.

"If these changes are accompanied by periodic decreases in precipitation, then the rate of replenishment of groundwater reserves will fall to values ​​that have not been observed over the past 4, 5 thousand years. This indicates the need to create new water management systems in the city," they write researchers.

Climatologists believe that the Middle East will be one of the first to suffer from global warming. In particular, in 2015, scientists came to the conclusion that by the beginning of the XXII century, many regions of the Middle East may become unsuitable for human life due to an increase in temperature and humidity.

Researchers are equally concerned that rising temperatures and more frequent heat waves, droughts and other extreme weather events will lead to the fact that the average rainfall in the Middle East will plummet. This will lead to a decrease in crop yields and a potential aggravation of the socio-political situation in the region. Assistant Professor at the National University of Singapore Simone Fatiki and his colleagues decided to find out how such climate changes will affect one of the largest metropolitan areas in the region - Jerusalem - and its surroundings.

The city receives a significant part of the fresh water from the Gion spring and other underground sources. Scientists suggest that the water level in them is highly dependent on how quickly local groundwater reserves are replenished. This, in turn, is influenced by the climate of this part of Israel.

Faticks and his colleagues have studied the history of fluctuations in this indicator over the past 4, 5 thousand years. They analyzed how the moisture level of the soil in the vicinity of Jerusalem changed during this time, as well as the density of its vegetation cover, which affects the rate of removal and evaporation of water from the soil.

Calculations have shown that in the last two thousand years, the rate of replenishment of groundwater reserves has remained almost unchanged. However, in the near future, this figure may drop dramatically if temperatures on Earth rise by 2 ° C and higher. As Faticky and his colleagues predict, it will decline by about 20% by the end of the century, even if the level of precipitation does not change significantly.

This drop will be due to the fact that plants will begin to spend more water to cool their leaves and other life processes, which will be accelerated as a result of an increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. An additional contribution to this process will be made by an increase in average soil temperatures, which will also increase the rate of evaporation of water from its upper layers.

Something similar, as the researchers suggest, will happen not only in the vicinity of Jerusalem, but in all other arid regions of the Middle East and other parts of the world. The existence of such trends must be taken into account when preparing countries for subsequent climate change, concluded Fatick and his colleagues.

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