Mapping future water stress

Researchers at the University of Kassel in Germany have produced a series of projections mapping areas of water stress across the globe.  The BBC presents projected maps here.

The team mixed Hadley Centre GCM models with regional climate models to estimate changes in precipitation, then compared these to a variety of socio-economic scenarios from the IPCC to estimate demand.  

Regional downscaling is always a controversial topic and many climate scientists argue that GCM’s provide unreliable local precipitation forecasts (see the recent HFP seminar on climate science and humanitarian planning).

One of the surprises for HFP from looking at these maps was the extent of water crises in Western China.  What are the humanitarian implications of this for the Central Asian steppes?

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