A global‐scale analysis of water storage dynamics of inland wetlands: Quantifying the impacts of human water use and man‐made reservoirs as well as the unavoidable and avoidable impacts of climate change

  • Wetlands such as bogs, swamps, or freshwater marshes are hotspots of biodiversity. For 5.1 million km2 of inland wetlands, the dynamics of area and water storage, which strongly impact biodiversity and ecosystem services, were simulated using the global hydrological model WaterGAP. For the first time, the impacts of both human water use and man‐made reservoirs (WUR) and future climate change (CC) on wetlands around the globe were quantified. WUR impacts are concentrated in arid/semiarid regions, where WUR decreased mean wetland water storage by more than 5% on 8.2% of the mean wetland area during 1986–2005 (Am), with highest decreases in groundwater depletion area. Using output of three climate models, CC impacts on wetlands were quantified, distinguishing unavoidable impacts [i.e., at 2 °C global warming (GW)] from avoidable impacts (difference between 3 °C and 2 °C impacts). Even unavoidable CC impacts are projected to be much larger than WUR impacts, also in arid/semiarid regions. On most wetland area with reliable estimates, avoidable CC impacts are more than twice as large as unavoidable impacts. In case of 2 °C GW, half of Am is estimated to be unaffected by mean storage changes of more than 5%, but only one third in case of 3 °C GW. Temporal variability of water storage will increase for most wetlands. Wetlands in dry regions will be affected the most, particularly by water storage decreases in the dry season. Different from wealthier countries, low‐income countries will dominantly suffer from a decrease in wetland water storage due to CC.

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Author:Petra DöllORCiDGND, Tim TrautmannORCiD, Mareike Göllner, Hannes Müller SchmiedORCiDGND
Parent Title (German):Ecohydrology
Place of publication:Chichester
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2019/11/22
Date of first Publication:2019/11/22
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2020/12/11
Tag:climate change; global; reservoirs; water storage; water use; wetland
Page Number:18
Institutes:Geowissenschaften / Geographie / Geowissenschaften
Angeschlossene und kooperierende Institutionen / Senckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft
Fachübergreifende Einrichtungen / Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum (BiK-F)
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 55 Geowissenschaften, Geologie / 550 Geowissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0