Effects of climate change
Climate has been changing throughout geological times, but the emission of greenhouse gasses is changing climate at rates unprecedented in the past thousands of years. Climate change will not only lead to a global increase of temperatures, but it will also have major effects on the global water cycle, such as changing river regimes, glacier extents and ocean circulation. In turn, these changes will have large, often negative, effects on water and food security, flood hazards and the on the health of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Eventually such threats affect the wellbeing of our global population, which is expected to grow to 9 billion in the next 40 years.
Apart from the impacts of climate change on the water cycle and ecosystems, changes therein will also feedback on climate itself. In fact, to be able to understand how earth’s climate will respond to increased greenhouse gas concentrations requires that climate, water and ecosystems and their interaction are studied together. That is exactly what the research of the sub-theme Water, Climate and Ecosystems (WCE) is about.