Water Requirements and Man-Induced Climate Change

by George H. Hargreaves, (F.ASCE), Research Engr.; Dept. of Agric. and Irrig. Engrg., Utah State Univ., Logan, Utah,

Serial Information: Journal of the Irrigation and Drainage Division, 1981, Vol. 107, Issue 3, Pg. 247-255

Document Type: Journal Paper


The unrestrained combustion of fossil fuels is possibly the most important environmental issue facing mankind. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere may double within the next 50 years, producing changes in amounts of rainfall, increasing temperatures and changing the agricultural potential. Temperature changes will be greatest (about 8°C) at 83 degrees latitude. A doubling of CO2 concentrations will increase temperatures near the equator by less than 2°C at latitude 40° by about 3.6°C. In the latitudes 37° to 47° rainfall is projected to decrease while water requirements are estimated to increase by possibly as much as 30 percent. The potential for future agricultural production in the United States will depend largely on the availability of additional water. Quadrupling CO2 concentrations is projected to increase temperature by more than 6°C at 40° latitude.

Subject Headings: Temperature effects | Water management | Human factors | Climate change | Combustion | Fuels | Rainfall | Agriculture | United States | Colorado

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