Prof. Thian Yew Gan University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
Mankind has benefited from consuming shared resources such as air and freshwater and return their wastes back into the shared resources. However, tragedy arises when man fails to recognize that consumptive activities of some could lead to a significant impact of many - the destruction of the integrity of shared resources, such as the current global predicament of climate change impact on the hydrosphere and cryosphere. In recent decades, the world has suffered significant environmental changes such as hydrologic extremes, melting glaciers and ice caps, sea level rise, forest fires, and many natural disasters causing serious damage, massive property losses and even deaths, such as the 2010 Monsoon flood of Pakistan, the 2011 Tropical storm Washi of Philippines, and the 2013 southern Alberta flood of Canada. A warmer climate means the atmosphere will be loaded with more water vapor which is fuel for developing intensive storms and hurricanes. Conversely, rising temperature can also give rise to prolonged moisture deficit or droughts in arid/semi-arid regions, resulting in loss of multibillion dollar revenues from agriculture, leading to famine and even humanitarian crisis, such as that of Nigeria and Somalia in 2017. Perspectives on the global energy balance, greenhouse effects and examples of observed changes to the hydrosphere will be presented. Future climate scenarios projected by general circulation models (GCMs) of the 4th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007), and that of the 5th Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) of IPCC (2013), and case studies based on regional climate models and land surface schemes will be discussed. The discussions will also include possible implications to the future global climate, hydrology, and water resources under the potential impacts of climate change.