Journal article

Amplification of risks to water supply at 1.5°C and 2°C in drying climates: a case study for Melbourne, Australia

Benjamin J Henley, Murray C Peel, Rory Nathan, Andrew David King, Anna M Ukkola, David J Karoly, Kim S Tan

Environmental Research Letters | IOP Publishing | Published : 2019


Human-induced climate change poses a major threat to the reliable water supply in many highly populated regions. Here we combine hydrological and climate model simulations to evaluate risks to the water supply under projected shifts in the climate at the Paris Agreement warming levels. Modelling the primary surface water sources for Melbourne, Australia, we project that the risk of severe water supply shortage to the climate-dependent portion of the system increases substantially as global warming increases from 1.5 °Cto 2.0 °C. Risks are further exacerbated by increases in water demand but substantially ameliorated by supply augmentation from desalination.Wedemonstrate that reduction..

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Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Melbourne Water for their provision of data and assistance with this study. BJH, MP and RN received funding from an Australian Research Council Linkage Project (LP150100062), which was co-funded by Melbourne Water and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and supported by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. BJH and ADK are Associate Investigators of the Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes (CLEX, CE170100023). MP received funding from an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (FT120100130). AMU received funding from CLEX. ADK received funding from an ARC DECRA (DE180100638). DJK is supported by the Earth Systems and Climate Change Hub, which is funded by the Australian government's National Environmental Science Program. We acknowledge the support of the NCI facility in Australia. We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme's Working Group on Coupled Modelling, which is responsible for CMIP, and we thank the climate modelling groups for producing and making available their model output. For CMIP, the US Department of Energy's Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison provides coordinating support and led development of software infrastructure in partnership with the Global Organization for Earth System Science Portals. We thank the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the Bureau of Rural Sciences and CSIRO for providing the Australian Water Availability Project data.