The Impact of Climate Change on the Hydrological Cycle

The Impact of Climate Change on the Hydrological Cycle

Kevin Trenberth

Former Coordinating Lead Author of the IPCC

Water is irreplaceable, non-substitutable and absolutely essential for life. The global water cycle is also changing. Join Kevin Trenberth in this video where he outlines what precipitation is, the hydrological cycle and how this is changing due to the climate crisis.

Water is irreplaceable, non-substitutable and absolutely essential for life. The global water cycle is also changing. Join Kevin Trenberth in this video where he outlines what precipitation is, the hydrological cycle and how this is changing due to the climate crisis.

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The Impact of Climate Change on the Hydrological Cycle

16 mins 33 secs

Overview

Precipitation results from the condensation of water vapour in the atmosphere that falls from clouds as a result of gravity. This includes drizzle rain and snow. The hydrological cycle is the process of evaporation from the surface moisture of the land and its vegetation, and ocean surface into the atmosphere and then back again as precipitation. Higher air temperatures mean there is more atmospheric demand for moisture. The increased heat in the climate is causing more evaporation, leading to prospects of more storms of increasing size, intensity and length.

Key learning objectives:

  • Understand what precipitation is

  • Understand how the hydrological cycle works

  • Outline the effect of the climate crisis on the hydrological cycle

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Summary
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Expert
Kevin Trenberth

Kevin Trenberth

Dr. Kevin Trenberth is a Distinguished Scholar at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). He was a Coordinating Lead Author of the 1995, 2001, and 2007 Scientific Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Kevin also shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize which went to the IPCC and Al Gore. Between 1999 to 2006, Kevin served on the Joint Scientific committee of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). Kevin then went on to chair the WCRP Observation and Assimilation Panel from 2004 to 2010 and the Global Energy and Water Exchanges (GEWEX) Scientific Steering Group from 2010 to 2013. He has also served on many US national committees and is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi. Kevin has received many awards throughout his career. In 2000, he received the Jule G. Charney award from the AMS; in 2003, he was given the NCAR Distinguished Achievement Award. In 2013 he was awarded the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water, and he received the Climate Communication Prize from AGU and in 2017 he was honoured with the Roger Revelle medal by the AGU.

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