Global Wetting and Drying: Regions face opposing prospects for water supply

1:12pm, November 16, 2005

In the next half century, rivers and streams in some parts of the world will diminish in flow, while waterways elsewhere rise in output, according to a new analysis of climate simulations.

Drying could contribute to droughts and wildfires, for example, in the western United States. Eastern North America and other increasingly wet regions may face excess floods, says hydrologist Christopher Milly of the U.S. Geological Survey in Princeton, N.J.

In a separate study, researchers led by Tim P. Barnett of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif., predict that global warming will reduce seasonal water availability for about 1 billion people.

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