Startling Photos Show Impact of Climate Change on Global Waterways


A set of startling photos show the devastating impact heatwaves and droughts have brought to rivers, lakes, and canals this summer.

The world’s waterways have been drying up at an alarming rate with climate change the underlying reason for reduced water levels.

A recent article by Bloomberg puts together a series of shocking photos that show a world “fully in the grip of accelerating climate change.”

News reporter Brian K Sullivan says that the water crisis has a “profound economic impact.”

“Losing waterways means a serious risk to shipping routes, agriculture, energy supplies — and drinking water,” he writes.

The photos and report highlight the global nature of the problem with tourist cruises on the River Rhine in Europe, popular with American tourists, disrupted because of low levels.

In China, the extreme summer has taken on tall on Asia’s longest river, the Yangtze. There, the water levels have affected electricity generation at hydropower plants with Shanghai having to curb power use.

And in the U.S., the reduced Colorado River is causing water cuts for Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico.

Complex Reasons

This summer has been extreme, with multiple factors, including La Nina, combining to create these devastating dry spells. But Daniel Swain, a climatologist at the University of California, says that climate change underpins these weather shifts.

“There is clearly a role for climate change, which made multiple underlying, record-breaking, and in some cases, record-shattering heat waves dramatically more likely,” Swain tells Bloomberg.

Higher temperatures mean that snowy mountain ranges, that act as nature’s reservoir, are less snowy leaving less water to flow down in the summer during the melt.

“The loss of snow and mountain glaciers in the Alps has been extraordinary this summer as well, shocking even seasoned climatologists and glaciologists,” Swain adds.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.