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........ published in NEWSLETTER # 56

by Dr. H.R. Oliver and Dr. S.A. Oliver, Institute of Hydrology, Wallingforde (U.K.)

Global environmental change is currently of major concern to people in many walks of life, from scientists and engineers to economic and social planners. The human consequences of changes in the Earth's water cycle, such as flooding or depletion of water resources, can be far reaching. In addition water itself is a major factor in the processes that cause environmental change.

This volume (NATO ASI SERIES I31) presents an up-to-date assessment of interactions between water and global change. There have been many recent initiatives (such as international conferences and research programmes) on particular themes in this area, but this book aims to bring together ideas from different disciplines such as hydrology, climatology, plant physiology and sociology.

The first twelve chapters cover the role of water in the climate system and how it is modelled. Topics include global water budgets, the effect of each element of water balance on regional and global climates and modelling hydrological processes at all scales from a single leaf to the whole atmosphere. Precipitation, ice, lakes, groundwater, vegetation, land surfaces and atmospheric processes are all subjects addressed, and the effect of projected future climates with raised temperature and carbon dioxide are discussed. Only ocean processes are ommitted as these constitute a large interdisciplinary topic in their own right.

The last four chapters are concerned with the comparatively new and increasingly important field of impact studies - looking in this case at how climate change and variability could effect hydrological systems and all that depends upon them. Changes in hydrological systems, whether global or local, impact on water resources and such diverse areas as water supply management, fisheries, wetland ecosystems, navigation and human health. These and other topics are discussed together with the social and political implications of change. Methodologies for creating climate change scenarios and estimating impacts are reviewed.

This book sets out both the current understanding and probable developments in the field of water and global change. Together with other ASI volumes in Series I on Global Environmental Change, this book supports the interdisciplinary cross-fertilization that will be needed to progress in understanding the implications of future climate change - a vitally important area of human and environmental concern.
Reference books: G7, I5, I31

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