reference : A review of the potential impacts of climate change on surface water quality

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reftype Journal Article
Abstract It is now accepted that some human-induced climate change is unavoidable. Potential impacts on water supply have received much attention, but relatively little is known about the concomitant changes in water quality. Projected changes in air temperature and rainfall could affect river flows and, hence, the mobility and dilution of contaminants. Increased water temperatures will affect chemical reaction kinetics and, combined with deteriorations in quality, freshwater ecological status. With increased flows there will be changes in stream power and, hence, sediment loads with the potential to alter the morphology of rivers and the transfer of sediments to lakes, thereby impacting freshwater habitats in both lake and stream systems. This paper reviews such impacts through the lens of UK surface water quality. Widely accepted climate change scenarios suggest more frequent droughts in summer, as well as flash-flooding, leading to uncontrolled discharges from urban areas to receiving water courses and estuaries. Invasion by alien species is highly likely, as is migration of species within the UK adapting to changing temperatures and flow regimes. Lower flows, reduced velocities and, hence, higher water residence times in rivers and lakes will enhance the potential for toxic algal blooms and reduce dissolved oxygen levels. Upland streams could experience increased dissolved organic carbon and colour levels, requiring action at water treatment plants to prevent toxic by-products entering public water supplies. Storms that terminate drought periods will flush nutrients from urban and rural areas or generate acid pulses in acidified upland catchments. Policy responses to climate change, such as the growth of bio-fuels or emission controls, will further impact freshwater quality.
Author Whitehead, P. G.; Wilby, R. L.; Battarbee, R. W.; Kernan, M.; Wade, A. J.
DOI 10.1623/hysj.54.1.101
Date Feb
ISSN 2150-3435
Issue 1
Journal Hydrological Sciences Journal
Keywords climate change; water quality; rivers; catchments; lakes; estuaries; ecology; hydrochemistry; high-mountain lakes; dissolved organic-carbon; multiple source; assessment; weser estuary region; organochlorine compounds; nitrogen; model; upland stream; river kennet; urban areas; episodic acidification
Language English
Notes Times Cited: 74 Whitehead, P. G. Wilby, R. L. Battarbee, R. W. Kernan, M. Wade, A. J. Environment Agency Science Project [SC070043]; European Union [GOCE-CT-2003-505540] The views contained in this paper reflect those of the authors and are not necessarily indicative of the position held by the Environment Agency. The work was supported by Environment Agency Science Project SC070043, and the Euro-limpacs project of the Sixth Framework Programme of the European Union (GOCE-CT-2003-505540). Iahs press, inst hydrology Wallingford
Pages 101-123
Title A review of the potential impacts of climate change on surface water quality
Volume 54
Year 2009
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