Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
A forthcoming water crisis could affect one in 10 people by the end of this century, found a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. As the planet warms, researchers expect to see as much as a 40 percent increase above current levels of what’s known as absolute water scarcity.
The scarcity won’t just arise from population growth, the researchers say. There will be more people, but they’ll be competing for fewer resources — brought about by changes in rainfall and evaporation tied to climate change. Their findings are based on the prediction that Earth will warm 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by 2100 (the U.N. projects that the world will surpass 2 degrees warming by that time).
Absolute water scarcity is defined as having fewer than 500 cubic meters (132,000 gallons) of water available per person, per year (the global average is 1,200 cubic meters; it’s much higher in industrial nations). Areas under those conditions require extremely efficient management techniques for using and conserving their limited supply of water — which, as the researchers point out, many countries do not currently have in place.
Drought conditions also pose a threat to agriculture; as will increased rainfall in other regions, which according to the researchers can cause “water logging, flooding and malfunctioning or failure of water-related infrastructure.”
“From a risk management perspective, it becomes very clear that, if human-made climate change continues, we are putting at risk the very basis of life for millions of people, even according to the more optimistic scenarios and models,” co-author Pavel Kabat, of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), said in a statement.
Regions expected to see the most pronounced decrease in available water, according to the study, include the Mediterranean, the Middle East, the southern U.S. and southern China. Southern India, western China and parts of East Africa could see a substantial increase.
Lindsay Abrams is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email firstname.lastname@example.org.More Lindsay Abrams.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.