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Rivers becoming warmer with rising temperature: Study

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 - 19:05

Washington: It`s not just the air and ocean
temperature that is rising very fast, rivers also seem to be
heating up because of the climate change, a new research
has claimed.

Ecologists at the University of Maryland Center for
Environmental Science in Solomons claimed that over the past
few decades, 20 major streams and rivers in the US have warmed
significantly with temperatures in some rivers have risen by
over three degrees Celsius.

Such warmer river conditions, the scientists said, could
threaten both the biodiversity of waterways and the livelihood
of people who depend on them, especially in cities where
heat-island effects accelerate warming, the

Sujay Kaushal, an ecologist at the university and the
lead author of the study, said: "Even modest changes in
temperature can have big biological effects."

"We`re seeing the fastest rates of temperature increase
in the most highly urbanised areas. That leads us to believe
it`s a one-two punch of global warming and development."

For their research, Kaushal and his colleagues pieced
together all the long-term water temperature data they could
find for 40 streams and rivers around the country.

Sources included old drinking water records, monitoring
programmes, and water-quality studies conducted by the United
States Geological Survey.

Reporting their findings in the journal Frontiers in
Ecology and the Environment, the researchers said the data, in
20 rivers they looked at, clearly showed warming, ranging from
about 0.01 degree to 0.08 degree C per year.

Those are small numbers but the fractions added up over
time -- to as much as a 3 degree C rise in Maryland`s Patuxent
River in less than 60 years, and probably more in other
places, they said.

According to the findings, fastest rates of warming
occurred near urban areas in the Mid-Atlantic States,
including along the Potomac River outside of Washington DC,
the Delaware River near Chester, Penn, and the Patuxent River.


First Published: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 - 19:05
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