Water, not carbon, focus for climate debate
1 JANUARY 2003
A visiting international academic hosted by CSU throws new light on climate change by asserting the gradual breakdown of the Earth's water cycles caused by land clearing is playing a major role in climate change.
A visiting international academic throws new light on climate change by asserting the gradual breakdown of the Earth’s water cycles caused by land clearing is playing a major role in climate change.
Hosted by Charles Sturt University’s Institute for Land, Water and Society, Professor Jan Pokorný from the Czech Republic will present his controversial views in a meeting to be held in Canberra tomorrow, Tuesday 22 March.
“The circulation of water in nature is driven by solar energy and takes place through 'large' [global] and 'small' [local] water cycles. Humanity, through activities such as agriculture and forestry systematically transforms natural land into cultured land, which accelerates the runoff of rainwater from land and increases temperature of the land,” says Professor Pokorný.
“This limits evaporation into the air and infiltration of water into the soil decreases the supply of water to the ‘small’ water cycle. The local water balance is thus disturbed and gradually breaks down over land.
“So global climate change is seen to be caused by human activities, where land clearing affects water drainage which causes temperatures to rise and trigger more climatic extremes. This causes a gradual drop in groundwater reserves, more frequent flooding, longer periods of drought and an increase in the water shortage in regions worldwide.”
Professor Pokorný is a plant physiologist and wetland ecologist. He believes through more careful landscape and water management we can change the movement of heat that drives climate change.
“This also has implications for policies that reduce carbon as a means of alleviating climate change, and how we manage carbon dioxide in our soils. By improving our plant and water management in landscapes we can help mitigate climate change,” says Professor Pokorný.
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