Scientists against droughts and floods of climate change.
Euronews, 10/07/201. Europe.
Together with the rest of the planet, Europe is preparing for the consequences of climate change. Several areas face diverse risks ranging from droughts to floods, but do we understand what awaits us and how do we respond to it? Scientists are looking for answers. In order to arrive at a detailed 10-year forecast of the effects of climate change on European aquifer systems, we are analyzing evidence from different sites in six countries. The study includes the impact on agriculture, industry, tourism and other sectors of the economy.
We have gone to Cyprus, where researchers are looking for answers. The rains that convert a dry river bed become less frequent and more intense. This accelerates soil erosion, carries more sediment. In this area a dam was built to slow the river, so that the water could soak the soil, but the sediments are an obstacle.
Adriana Bruggeman, a researcher in hydrology and water management at The Cyprus Institute explains: “The people who live here depend on groundwater, both for domestic supply and household needs and for irrigation. With climate change, we will have less and less water flowing, so we want to know how much water can be stored here. ” What is worrying is that in this semi-arid country, more and more water will evaporate before reaching underground aquifers. Researchers regularly take soil samples to know how quickly the river’s water flows through this ever-growing layer of dense sediment.
Cámara Corrado, Researcher in hydrology and earth sciences, at The Cyprus Institute shows us his task on the ground: “Within a cylinder, we put a certain amount of land. We will thoroughly dry this sample, weigh it and thus determine the density of the soil. ” To have a better view of the water circulation, researchers also take other measures. This forest station studies the effect of trees. The cup retains some rainwater that evaporates before reaching the ground, while the root system pumps groundwater for the tree to grow, in a process known as plant transpiration.
Marinos Eliades, a hydrologist at The Cyprus Institute shows us his working tools: “This sensor has three needles that allow us to estimate the speed of water passing through the trunks, which will indicate the amount of groundwater consumed by the trees.” The Cyprus study helps to adapt local agriculture to changes in water availability, for example by suggesting more efficient crops in water use. This is just one aspect of this major European research project that deals with climate and water issues.
In Mülheim, Germany, one million inhabitants depend on a system of water reservoirs that must remain stable. Heavy summer rains increase the risk of flash floods. Researchers use meteorological data and take measurements of water flows on the surface and within the soil to better understand changes in the water cycle.
Marc Scheibel, water resources and flood management researcher at the public water management corporation in North Rhine Westphalia Wupperverband tells us: “What we are already experiencing is a displacement of precipitation: at present we have less rain in winter. Usually the winter floods are in January-February, but now they arrive sometimes later, in March, for example. And there is more concentrated flooding during the summer. This means that the water is not there at the right time, when we need it, so there is not enough potable water or there is too much when there is a flood. ”
The Bingo Project, which analyzes tests done in different places in six countries, aims to arrive at a detailed forecast ten years on the effects of climate change on European aquifer systems. They include the impact on agriculture, industry, tourism and other sectors of the economy.
Rafaela Matos, coordinator of the Bingo project and researcher in hydraulics and environment at the National Civil Engineering Laboratory in Lisbon, explains: “This research will help us anticipate the influence of climate change on our environment, whether it be flood zones or of drought prone areas. That way we can respond by providing solutions on appropriate infrastructure and on the necessary changes in people’s behavior towards the environment. ”