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Global cotton production under climate change – Implications for yield and water consumption

2021, Jans, Yvonne, von Bloh, Werner, Schaphoff, Sibyll, Müller, Christoph

Being an extensively produced natural fiber on earth, cotton is of importance for economies. Although the plant is broadly adapted to varying environments, the growth of and irrigation water demand on cotton may be challenged by future climate change. To study the impacts of climate change on cotton productivity in different regions across the world and the irrigation water requirements related to it, we use the process-based, spatially detailed biosphere and hydrology model LPJmL (Lund Potsdam Jena managed land). We find our modeled cotton yield levels in good agreement with reported values and simulated water consumption of cotton production similar to published estimates. Following the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP) protocol, we employ an ensemble of five general circulation models under four representative concentration pathways (RCPs) for the 2011 2099 period to simulate future cotton yields. We find that irrigated cotton production does not suffer from climate change if CO2 effects are considered, whereas rainfed production is more sensitive to varying climate conditions. Considering the overall effect of a changing climate and CO2 fertilization, cotton production on current cropland steadily increases for most of the RCPs. Starting from _ 65 million tonnes in 2010, cotton production for RCP4.5 and RCP6.0 equates to 83 and 92 million tonnes at the end of the century, respectively. Under RCP8.5, simulated global cotton production rises by more than 50% by 2099. Taking only climate change into account, projected cotton production considerably shrinks in most scenarios, by up to one-Third or 43 million tonnes under RCP8.5. The simulation of future virtual water content (VWC) of cotton grown under elevated CO2 results for all scenarios in less VWC compared to ambient CO2 conditions. Under RCP6.0 and RCP8.5, VWC is notably decreased by more than 2000m3 t1 in areas where cotton is produced under purely rainfed conditions. By 2040, the average global VWC for cotton declines in all scenarios from currently 3300 to 3000m3 t1, and reduction continues by up to 30% in 2100 under RCP8.5. While the VWC decreases by the CO2 effect, elevated temperature acts in the opposite direction. Ignoring beneficial CO2 effects, global VWC of cotton would increase for all RCPs except RCP2.6, reaching more than 5000m3 t1 by the end of the simulation period under RCP8.5. Given the economic relevance of cotton production, climate change poses an additional stress and deserves special attention. Changes in VWC and water demands for cotton production are of special importance, as cotton production is known for its intense water consumption. The implications of climate impacts on cotton production on the one hand and the impact of cotton production on water resources on the other hand illustrate the need to assess how future climate change may affect cotton production and its resource requirements. Our results should be regarded as optimistic, because of high uncertainty with respect to CO2 fertilization and the lack of implementing processes of boll abscission under heat stress. Still, the inclusion of cotton in LPJmL allows for various large-scale studies to assess impacts of climate change on hydrological factors and the implications for agricultural production and carbon sequestration. © 2021 BMJ Publishing Group. All rights reserved.

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Hydraulic properties at the North Sea island of Borkum derived from joint inversion of magnetic resonance and electrical resistivity soundings

2012, Günther, T., Müller-Petke, M.

For reliably predicting the impact of climate changes on salt/freshwater systems below barrier islands, a long-term hydraulic modelling is inevitable. As input we need the parameters porosity, salinity and hydraulic conductivity at the catchment scale, preferably non-invasively acquired with geophysical methods. We present a methodology to retrieve the searched parameters and a lithological interpretation by the joint analysis of magnetic resonance soundings (MRS) and vertical electric soundings (VES). Both data sets are jointly inverted for resistivity, water content and decay time using a joint inversion scheme. Coupling is accomplished by common layer thicknesses. We show the results of three soundings measured on the eastern part of the North Sea island of Borkum. Pumping test data is used to calibrate the petrophysical relationship for the local conditions in order to estimate permeability from nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) data. Salinity is retrieved from water content and resistivity using a modified Archie equation calibrated by local samples. As a result we are able to predict porosity, salinity and hydraulic conductivities of the aquifers, including their uncertainties. The joint inversion significantly improves the reliability of the results. Verification is given by comparison with a borehole. A sounding in the flooding area demonstrates that only the combined inversion provides a correct subsurface model. Thanks to the joint application, we are able to distinguish fluid conductivity from lithology and provide reliable hydraulic parameters as shown by uncertainty analysis. These findings can finally be used to build groundwater flow models for simulating climate changes. This includes the improved geometry and lithological attribution, and also the parameters and their uncertainties. © Author(s) 2012.

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Numerical modelling of climate change impacts on freshwater lenses on the North Sea Island of Borkum using hydrological and geophysical methods

2012, Sulzbacher, H., Wiederhold, H., Siemon, B., Grinat, M., Igel, J., Burschil, T., Günther, T., Hinsby, K.

A numerical, density dependent groundwater model is set up for the North Sea Island of Borkum to estimate climate change impacts on coastal aquifers and especially the situation of barrier islands in the Wadden Sea. The database includes information from boreholes, a seismic survey, a helicopter-borne electromagnetic (HEM) survey, monitoring of the freshwater-saltwater boundary by vertical electrode chains in two boreholes, measurements of groundwater table, pumping and slug tests, as well as water samples. Based on a statistical analysis of borehole columns, seismic sections and HEM, a hydrogeological model is set up. The groundwater model is developed using the finite-element programme FEFLOW. The density dependent groundwater model is calibrated on the basis of hydraulic, hydrological and geophysical data, in particular spatial HEM and local monitoring data. Verification runs with the calibrated model show good agreement between measured and computed hydraulic heads. A good agreement is also obtained between measured and computed density or total dissolved solids data for both the entire freshwater lens on a large scale and in the area of the well fields on a small scale. For simulating future changes in this coastal groundwater system until the end of the current century, we use the climate scenario A2, specified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and, in particular, the data for the German North Sea coast. Simulation runs show proceeding salinisation with time beneath the well fields of the two waterworks Waterdelle and Ostland. The modelling study shows that the spreading of well fields is an appropriate protection measure against excessive salinisation of the water supply until the end of the current century.

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Ground-penetrating radar insight into a coastal aquifer: the freshwater lens of Borkum Island

2013, Igel, J., Günther, T., Kuntzer, M.

Freshwater lenses, as important resource for drinking water, are sensitive to climate changes and sea level rise. To simulate this impact on the groundwater systems, hydraulic subsurface models have to be designed. Geophysical techniques can provide information for generating realistic models. The aim of our work is to show how ground-penetrating radar (GPR) investigations can contribute to such hydrological simulations. In the pilot area, Borkum island, GPR was used to map the shape of the groundwater table (GWT) and to characterise the aquifer. In total, 20 km of constant offset (CO) profiles were measured with centre frequencies of 80 and 200 MHz. Wave velocities were determined by common midpoint (CMP) measurements and vertical radar profiling (VRP) in a monitoring well. The 80 MHz CO data show a clear reflection at the groundwater table, whereas the reflection is weaker for the 200 MHz data. After correcting the GPR water tables for the capillary rise, they are in good accordance with the pressure heads of the observation wells in the area. In the centre of the island, the groundwater table is found up to 3.5 m above sea level, however it is lower towards the coastline and marshland. Some local depressions are observed in the region of dune valleys and around pumping stations of the local water supplier. GPR also reveals details within the sediments and highly-permeable aeolian sands can be distinguished from less-permeable marine sediments. Further, a silt loam layer below the water table could be mapped on a large area. The reflection characteristics indicates scattered erosion channels in this layer that cause it to be an aquitard with some leakage. GPR provides a high resolution map of the groundwater table and insight into the stratigraphy of the sediments and their hydraulic properties. This is valuable complementary information to the observation of sparsely distributed monitoring wells as input to hydraulic simulation.

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Pacific climate reflected in Waipuna Cave drip water hydrochemistry

2020, Nava-Fernandez, Cinthya, Hartland, Adam, Gázquez, Fernando, Kwiecien, Ola, Marwan, Norbert, Fox, Bethany, Hellstrom, John, Pearson, Andrew, Ward, Brittany, French, Amanda, Hodell, David A., Immenhauser, Adrian, Breitenbach, Sebastian F.M.

Cave microclimate and geochemical monitoring is vitally important for correct interpretations of proxy time series from speleothems with regard to past climatic and environmental dynamics. We present results of a comprehensive cave-monitoring programme in Waipuna Cave in the North Island of New Zealand, a region that is strongly influenced by the Southern Westerlies and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). This study aims to characterise the response of the Waipuna Cave hydrological system to atmospheric circulation dynamics in the southwestern Pacific region in order to assure the quality of ongoing palaeo-environmental reconstructions from this cave. Drip water from 10 drip sites was collected at roughly monthly intervals for a period of ca. 3 years for isotopic (d18O, dD, d-excess parameter, d17O, and 17Oexcess) and elemental (Mg=Ca and Sr=Ca) analysis. The monitoring included spot measurements of drip rates and cave air CO2 concentration. Cave air temperature and drip rates were also continuously recorded by automatic loggers. These datasets were compared to surface air temperature, rainfall, and potential evaporation from nearby meteorological stations to test the degree of signal transfer and expression of surface environmental conditions in Waipuna Cave hydrochemistry. Based on the drip response dynamics to rainfall and other characteristics, we identified three types of discharge associated with hydrological routing in Waipuna Cave: (i) type 1-diffuse flow, (ii) type 2-fracture flow, and (iii) type 3-combined flow. Drip water isotopes do not reflect seasonal variability but show higher values during severe drought. Drip water d18O values are characterised by small variability and reflect the mean isotopic signature of precipitation, testifying to rapid and thorough homogenisation in the epikarst. Mg=Ca and Sr=Ca ratios in drip waters are predominantly controlled by prior calcite precipitation (PCP). Prior calcite precipitation is strongest during austral summer (December-February), reflecting drier conditions and a lack of effec tive infiltration, and is weakest during the wet austral winter (July-September). The Sr=Ca ratio is particularly sensitive to ENSO conditions due to the interplay of congruent or incongruent host rock dissolution, which manifests itself in lower Sr=Ca in above-average warmer and wetter (La Niña-like) conditions. Our microclimatic observations at Waipuna Cave provide a valuable baseline for the rigorous interpretation of speleothem proxy records aiming at reconstructing the past expression of Pacific climate modes. © 2020 Author(s).

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Multimodel assessments of human and climate impacts on mean annual streamflow in China

2019, Liu, Xingcai, Liu, Wenfeng, Yang, Hong, Tang, Qiuhong, Flörke, Martina, Masaki, Yoshimitsu, Müller Schmied, Hannes, Ostberg, Sebastian, Pokhrel, Yadu, Satoh, Yusuke, Wada, Yoshihide

Human activities, as well as climate variability, have had increasing impacts on natural hydrological systems, particularly streamflow. However, quantitative assessments of these impacts are lacking on large scales. In this study, we use the simulations from six global hydrological models driven by three meteorological forcings to investigate direct human impact (DHI) and climate impact on streamflow in China. Results show that, in the sub-periods of 1971-1990 and 1991-2010, one-fifth to one-third of mean annual streamflow (MAF) was reduced due to DHI in northern basins, and much smaller ( 4 %) MAF was reduced in southern basins. From 1971-1990 to 1991-2010, total MAF changes range from-13%to 10%across basins wherein the relative contributions of DHI change and climate variability show distinct spatial patterns. DHI change caused decreases in MAF in 70% of river segments, but climate variability dominated the total MAF changes in 88% of river segments of China. In most northern basins, climate variability results in changes of-9% to 18% in MAF, while DHI change results in decreases of 2% to 8% in MAF. In contrast with the climate variability that may increase or decrease streamflow, DHI change almost always contributes to decreases in MAF over time, with water withdrawals supposedly being the major impact on streamflow. This quantitative assessment can be a reference for attribution of streamflow changes at large scales, despite remaining uncertainty. We highlight the significant DHI in northern basins and the necessity to modulate DHI through improved water management towards a better adaptation to future climate change. © 2019 Author(s).

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Global scenarios of irrigation water abstractions for bioenergy production: a systematic review

2021, Stenzel, Fabian, Gerten, Dieter, Hanasaki, Naota

Many scenarios of future climate evolution and its anthropogenic drivers include considerable amounts of bioenergy as a fuel source, as a negative emission technology, and for providing electricity. The associated freshwater abstractions for irrigation of dedicated biomass plantations might be substantial and therefore potentially increase water limitation and stress in affected regions; however, assumptions and quantities of water use provided in the literature vary strongly. This paper reviews existing global assessments of freshwater abstractions for bioenergy production and puts these estimates into the context of scenarios of other water-use sectors. We scanned the available literature and (out of 430 initial hits) found 16 publications (some of which include several bioenergy-water-use scenarios) with reported values on global irrigation water abstractions for biomass plantations, suggesting water withdrawals in the range of 128.4 to 9000 km3 yr−1, which would come on top of (or compete with) agricultural, industrial, and domestic water withdrawals. To provide an understanding of the origins of this large range, we present the diverse underlying assumptions, discuss major study differences, and calculate an inverse water-use efficiency (iwue), which facilitates comparison of the required freshwater amounts per produced biomass harvest. We conclude that due to the potentially high water demands and the tradeoffs that might go along with them, bioenergy should be an integral part of global assessments of freshwater demand and use. For interpreting and comparing reported estimates of possible future bioenergy water abstractions, full disclosure of parameters and assumptions is crucial. A minimum set should include the complete water balances of bioenergy production systems (including partitioning of blue and green water), bioenergy crop species and associated water-use efficiencies, rainfed and irrigated bioenergy plantation locations (including total area and meteorological conditions), and total biomass harvest amounts. In the future, a model intercomparison project with standardized parameters and scenarios would be helpful.

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The role of atmospheric rivers in the distribution of heavy precipitation events over North America

2023, Vallejo-Bernal, Sara M., Wolf, Frederik, Boers, Niklas, Traxl, Dominik, Marwan, Norbert, Kurths, Jürgen

Atmospheric rivers (ARs) are filaments of extensive water vapor transport in the lower troposphere that play a crucial role in the distribution of freshwater but can also cause natural and economic damage by facilitating heavy precipitation. Here, we investigate the large-scale spatiotemporal synchronization patterns of heavy precipitation events (HPEs) over the western coast and the continental regions of North America (NA), during the period from 1979 to 2018. In particular, we use event synchronization and a complex network approach incorporating varying delays to examine the temporal evolution of spatial patterns of HPEs in the aftermath of land-falling ARs. For that, we employ the SIO-R1 catalog of ARs that landfall on the western coast of NA, ranked in terms of intensity and persistence on an AR-strength scale which varies from level AR1 to AR5, along with daily precipitation estimates from ERA5 with a 0.25'spatial resolution. Our analysis reveals a cascade of synchronized HPEs, triggered by ARs of level AR3 or higher. On the first 3d after an AR makes landfall, HPEs mostly occur and synchronize along the western coast of NA. In the subsequent days, moisture can be transported to central and eastern Canada and cause synchronized but delayed HPEs there. Furthermore, we confirm the robustness of our findings with an additional AR catalog based on a different AR detection method. Finally, analyzing the anomalies of integrated water vapor transport, geopotential height, upper-level meridional wind, and precipitation, we find atmospheric circulation patterns that are consistent with the spatiotemporal evolution of the synchronized HPEs. Revealing the role of ARs in the precipitation patterns over NA will lead to a better understanding of inland HPEs and the effects that changing climate dynamics will have on precipitation occurrence and consequent impacts in the context of a warming atmosphere.