IMPACT OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE ON GROUND WATER RESOURCES OF KERALA
Dr Thrivikramji.K.P.Emeritus Fellow, University of KeralaDept. of Geology, Kariavattom Campus
Even though geoscientists are familiar with climate transitions of the geologic past, to day¶s concernon global climate change (GCC) due to tropospheric heating, - a forcing by steadily risingaccumulation of green house gases (like CO2, NOx, CH4, H2O as water vapour)- portends a bluntglobal threat to every facet of human life as well as other ecosystems. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a panel of scientists drawn from thevarious UN member countries, in a four volume report (one solely meant for chiefs of member nations of the UN) draws up a grim picture of the manner in which various systems and subsystemswill be affected by GCC and prescribes a set of µurgent¶ measures for mitigation and adaptation tominimize the impacts.In respect of Ground water (GW) resources, the IPCC report laments aboutlack of access to available and reliable data bases and non-uniform standards across the world andproposes to concerned nations to undertake research to monitor and create quality data sets on GWresources in order to come up with reliable forecasts. Primarily, rising global temperatures in the coming decades are bound to alter the hydrologic cycle invarious regions of the world and global rise in sea level, threatening the coastal population by beacherosion and consequent loss of property, livability and peaceful life but from salinity intrusion into thecoastal and island aquifers. Other consequences of rising temperatures are higher rates of evaporation of water from continental sources (like, ponds, lakes and canals) and from thepedosphere, shift in the pattern of rain fall, modification of the agroclimatic zones and the sowing andharvesting seasons. Given the same climate, factors influencing the ground water wealth of a province are physiography,geology, thickness of regolith, soil cover and the vegetation. Consequently, highland, midland andcoastal land of Kerala may play newer roles in the degree of rain water infiltration runoff andtranspiration. Secondary effects of GCC are in respect of loss of natural nutrient rich top soil consequent on theshrinking of tree crowns and ground brush due to their wilting in the rise in average atmospherictemperatures and the extended duration of such seasons. The current tacit balance in the wet-and-dry season couple is what makes Kerala appear green and the farm economy one among the robustin the country, especially in respect of the share of spices, tea, and coffee and rubber production andhence the states GDP and the population dependent on it. The WHO pictures various types of deterioration of human or societal health as a tertiary consequence of GCC. It is imperative that we design based on sound and reliable data sets methods, systems andprocesses for implementation to overcome the future water shortage in the domestic, agricultural andindustrial sectors in order to survive in the new climate regime.
Climate Change (CC) phenomenon is nothing new to geo-science or geoscientists as there has beenat least three ice ages in the recorded history of the planet Earth. However, the phenomenon of Green House Gas (GHG) driven CC, about which caused a huge concern among the community of nations, culminated in the creation of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) under auspices of the UNGA,. The four part IPCC report (one part is entirely devoted to the heads of nations) as well as the frame work conferences that followed, have led to a new universal awarenessand concern in the minds of lay citizens and the specialists alike. In addition, by awarding the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to the IPCC and to the documentary film -
- by Al Gore (former VP in the Clinton administration), the Nobel committee choseto highlight and loudly caution the impending dangers of global climate change (GCC) as a result of uncontrolled emissions of Green house gases (e.g., CO2, CH4, SOx, N2O etc) by burning of fossil