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Peak Resources investigates the growing concern of global water stress. It is no big secret that the world population of humans is growing at an exponential rate. The growth of the human population has caused almost every nation around the globe to focus its attention on the available of freshwater for the future while some nations must focus on having fresh water today. Add into the mix the continual pressure from global climate change, and you have a lot of trouble. Hotter temperatures mean less ground water, shallower lakes, and rivers, and less water for crops, drinking, and bathing. To set this into motion, MIT researchers developed a new tool that models the ability of the hydrologic cycle to meet the growing needs of the world population through the year 2050.
Water resources are tied to populations of people. By 2050, the world population, is expected to rise to 9.7 Billion. Of those 9.7 billion people, 5 billion are expected to be living in water-stressed communities or regions. Of those 5 billion people, 1 billion are expected to live where there is not enough water to meet daily needs of people, environment, and agriculture. For some nations, this is not news, India, and Middle Eastern countries are already facing water stress issues.
What the MIT model does is it allows researchers to look at the two variables that are going to have the most impact on freshwater over time. Those being socioeconomics, and global climate change. What they find when they look into how the socioeconomic data changes over time, they discovered that the rate at which populations grow and the changes to economic growth lead to situations of water-stress. What they are talking about are emerging markets, where water is already limited. The impact of the situation is made worse by adding in global climate change.
Results of the MIT Model
As populations of villages and cities grow more food is needed, more drinking water is needed, and more water is needed for industry, but water is finite and the amount of available water is decreased as temperatures rise. But emerging markets and developing countries are not the only people hit by water issues and global warming. The study shows that developed nations are also going to feel increased water-stress as time passes and global warming increases. Overall, global warming is expected to impact how, when, and where rain falls. Changing patterns of precipitation will impact most countries around the globe.
While this model shows a good picture of what the future will look like, it shows something even more valuable. It shows that studies and modeling of this nature are deeply important to humanity. Peak Resources sees clearly that those who have the knowledge to forecast accurately, will be the ones who have the power to make changes. Those changes represent resource investment opportunities. Knowledge is the tool that will shape the future. Water demand is getting worse, and as time goes by the question is how do we deal with it today.
Japanese rivers unleash ‘perennial supply’ of radiation into Pacific Ocean | Peak Oil News and Message Boards
A study published in the Elsevier journal Anthropocene late last year has revealed that many of the rivers, streams and other waterways located throughout coastal Japan have inadvertently become delivery systems for transporting radioactive waste directly from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility into the Pacific Ocean.
Researchers from both France and Japan discovered this after conducting a thorough sediment and soil erosion analysis, which revealed the presence of cesium-137, cesium-134 and even radioactive silver in the runoff from coastal rivers. A total of 2,200 soil samples were collected as part of the study, which was originally designed to look at the normal biogeochemical cycles and dispersion of contaminants via rivers and waterways.
Since it is already known that rivers play a functional role in cleansing the natural environment of toxins, a team of scientists from the Laboratory for Climate Sciences and the Environment in France and the Center for Research in Isotopes and Environmental Dynamics in Japan decided to look at how this process works with respect to radiation distribution.
With Fukushima radiation as the source indicator, the team looked for the presence of radioactive isotopes in soil samples collected all along the coastal regions of Japan. By tracking radiation in this way, the team was able to monitor from where the soil and sediment came to gain a better understanding of the transport patterns of particulate matter — and what they found is telling.
Based on the behaviors of the catchments observed, as well as their relation to the rivers that connect them to nearby mountain ranges, the team determined that many coastal rivers in Japan are a constant source of Fukushima radiation that ends up flowing directly into the Pacific Ocean. Early speculation that radioactive isotopes were probably concentrating in the upper layer of nearby soils also proved to be true.
“Our findings show that [the] Fukushima accident produced original tracers to monitor particle-borne transfers across the affected area shortly after the catastrophe,” wrote the authors of the study in their abstract. “We thereby suggest that coastal rivers have become a perennial supply of contaminated sediment to the Pacific Ocean.”
Contaminated rivers also sending deadly radiation into lakes, water reservoirs
But it is not just the Pacific Ocean that is suffering as a result of constant contamination from Fukushima. A similar study published earlier in the year in the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity found that irrigation waters, paddy fields and lakes are all being poisoned by the runoff from Fukushima.
After collecting soil samples from two small rivers located in the mountainous region of Fukushima Prefecture, scientists from the Japan-based Institute for Environmental Sciences learned that aerial deposits of nuclear contamination are occurring all across the region, and especially in the top layers of soil found in catchments.
“Our results are extremely important to quantitative assessment of the migration of radiocesium and decontamination of radiocesium in the watersheds impacted by fallout from the accident,” concluded the authors about their findings.
Accumulation of radioactive cesium has also been identified in over 20 woody plant species tested in Abiko, which is located some 125 miles southwest of Fukushima and just to the northeast of Tokyo. Researchers from the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry, or CRIEPI, found that the leaves of both coniferous and deciduous tree species had become contaminated as a result of radioactive rainfall.
“Further and continuous investigations are necessary to determine how long and how much radiocesium accumulates in the canopy and under the woody plants,” the researchers wrote.