NASA: Major droughts threatens food supply, global security
Water in the world’s largest aquifers is being pumped out at greater rates than can be replenished naturally. NASA says this poses a greater threat to US food supplies and global security than previously thought.
Groundwater in the globe’s largest aquifers – the US High Plains, California’s Central Valley, China and India – is being depleted at alarming rates according to new analysis by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The majority of the aquifers lie under the world’s great agricultural regions – and 80 percent of the world’s fresh water usage is in growing crops – meaning their reduction poses a serious threat to the world’s food supply.
“Nearly all of these [aquifers] underlie the world’s great agricultural regions and are primarily responsible for their high productivity,” wrote James Famiglietti, a leading hydrologist at the JPL, in the Nature Climate Change journal. “Vanishing groundwater will translate to major declines in agricultural productivity and energy production, with the potential for skyrocketing food prices and profound economic and political ramifications.”
Analysts used a new software program called Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), which measures tiny changes in an area’s gravitational pull to determine its groundwater capacity and creates satellite-based images for analysis. read more…