Atlas of the Biosphere
Water Resources

Water Resources

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Access to fresh water is a vital necessity for any population, and today's shifting climate is hampering our ability to access it. We've expanded our available arable land through innovations in irrigation, changed the course of rivers to generate power for our energy-starved lifestyles, even built gigantic cities in the desert by piping drinking water huge distances across the sand. As our climate changes yet further, the ability of these marginal areas to survive will be put to the test.

Annual Runoff

Description: The total volume of water running through a gridcell over one year.

Source: UNH-GRDC (2000)

Categories: Water Resources

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Annual Total Precipitation

Description: The total amount of precipitation to fall in one gridcell during one year.

Source: CRU 0.5 Degree Dataset, New et al.(1998)

Categories: EcosystemsWater Resources

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Evapotranspiration

Description: The amount of water removed from a gridcell through the processes of evaporation and transpiration.

Source: Willmott and Matsuura (2001)

Categories: EcosystemsWater Resources

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Irrigated Lands

Description: Land area equipped for irrigation in 1995 as a percentage of the total area of the gridcell.

Source: Döll and Siebert (2000), Siebert and Döll (2001)

Categories: Land UseWater Resources

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Lakes and Wetlands

Description: The extent of lakes and wetlands of various categories across the globe.

Source: Lehner and Döll (2001)

Categories: EcosystemsWater Resources

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Potential Evapotranspiration

Description: Assuming no limiting factors, the amount of water that could be removed from the gridcell through evaporation and transpiration.

Source: Willmott and Matsuura (2001)

Categories: EcosystemsWater Resources

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Snow Depth

Description: The average annual snow depth in each grid cell.

Source: Willmott and Matsuura (2001)

Categories: EcosystemsWater Resources

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Soil Moisture

Description: The average amount of water in the soil of a grid cell.

Source: Willmott and Matsuura (2001)

Categories: EcosystemsWater Resources

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