Effects of Climate Change on Soil and Water Resources: A Review

Mekonnen H. Daba


This review paper presents an overview of global impacts on soil and water resources as consequence of change in climate and summarizes the measures/adaptation options to minimize the risk. There is a strong scientific consensus that the earth’s climate has changed and will continue to change as human activities increase the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. World population is increasing day by day and at the same time soil and water resources is threatened due to natural resource degradation and climate change. The recent IPCC report has clearly stated that warming of the climate system is unequivocal and it is very likely” caused by natural and human activities. Numerous scholars reported that climate change affects hydrological cycle or water cycle components, especially precipitation, evapotranspiration, temperature, stream flow, ground water and surface runoff. A change in climate can alter the spatial and temporal availability of soil and water resources. These changes will result in increased floods and drought, which will have significant impacts on the soil and water resource availability. Soils are complicatedly linked to the climate system through nitrogen, the carbon, and hydrologic cycles. Because of change in climate soil processes and properties will affected. Along with changes in temperature, climate change will bring changes in global rainfall amounts and distribution patterns. And since temperature and water are two factors that have a large influence on the processes that take place in soils, climate change will therefore cause changes in the world’s soils. Water resources management can help to counter balance effects of climate change on stream flow and water availability until a certain level. This review paper starts with highlighting the studies on the impacts of climate changes on soil and water resource mainly due to change in temperature and rainfall. The impacts of climate change on soil and water resources are highlighted, and respective studies on hydrological responses to climate change are examined.

Finally the paper concludes by outlining possible adaptation options in the realm of climate change impacts on soil and water resources.

Keywords: Climate change, Soil and water resources, hydrological Cycle, soil processes and Properties

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3216 ISSN (Online)2225-0948

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