Anthropogenic Changes in Runoff and Sea Level Rise

The contribution to sea level rise (SLRa) of anthropogenic interventions in the land hydrologic cycle, over a specified time period, can be expressed as

where G = SLR due to groundwater mining

U = SLR due to increased runoff from urbanization C = SLR due to water release from combustion of fossil fuels and decomposition of biomass and soil organic matter D = SLR due to increased runoff from deforestation W = SLR due to drainage of wetlands R = SLR reduction due to impoundment in reservoirs I = SLR reduction due to irrigation

The terms in Eq. (2), as used here, represent potential annual changes in SLR attributed to these various processes during the 1990s. These terms, strictly speaking, are not entirely independent. For example, much of mined groundwater is used in irrigation, a large fraction of which water is lost to evaporation and to seepage, as discussed below. A fuller treatment of these feedbacks and transient changes in atmospheric humidity and groundwater is beginning to be incorporated into hydrologie modeling studies, a few of which are briefly described below. Estimates for each of the terms in Eq. (2), based on historical data, are presented in the following two sections.

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