Climate Change Creates a Groundwater “Time Bomb”

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The Earth’s underground water systems are struggling to cope with the effects of global warming. But climate change creates a groundwater “time bomb,” as the researchers from the Cardiff University’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences and Water Research Institute reported in their paper issued in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The world’s groundwater systems, the most significant sources of freshwater on the Earth, might take more than 100 years to adapt to climate change and its effects entirely. As the underground water systems replenish by rainfall, since global warming is accelerating and increasing the drought in many regions of the world, there is not enough rain.

“Our research shows that groundwater systems take a lot longer to respond to climate change than surface water, with only half of the world’s groundwater flows responding fully within ‘human’ timescales of 100 years,” said Mark Cuthbert, the study’s leading author.

Climate Change Creates a Groundwater “Time Bomb”

According to Cuthbert, in many regions of the Earth, changes in the “groundwater flows due to climate change could have a very long legacy. This could be described as an environmental time bomb because any climate change impacts on recharge occurring now, will only fully impact the base flow to rivers and wetlands a long time later,” as added the researcher.

“With more than 2 billion people relying on groundwater as a source of drinking and irrigation water, a delay in reaction to the systems could become very problematic, especially in locations where people rely almost entirely on groundwater for personal, industrial and agricultural needs,” according to Pam Wright from

“It is essential that the potential for these initially hidden impacts is recognized when developing water management policies, or climate change adaptation strategies for future generations,” concluded Mark Cuthbert who is also a research fellow at the Water Research Institute.

Vadim Ioan Caraiman

Vadim is a passionate writer on various topics but especially on stuff related to health, technology, and science. Therefore, for Great Lakes Ledger, Vadim will cover health and Sci&Tech news.