Changes to the earth's climate have a direct effect on the global hydrological cycle and hence on water. Changes in climate are thought to be responsible for increasing the extremes of flood and drought, both of which, together with other circumstances such as increasing populations and environmental degradation, tend to effect the poor the greatest. One of the most notable causes of climate change is global warming due at least partially to the emission of 'greenhouse gasses'.
Increasing concern is being expressed by NGOs, academics, governments and UN agencies regarding climate change which has led to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. There remains no comprehensive agreement amongst nations on the implementation of the convention or the protocol, however.
The effects of climate change on water resources
To understand the effects of climate change on water resources, review the following documents:
Information Sheet # 13 - "The effects of climate change on water". This is part of the UNEP Information Kit on Climate Change (PDF)
A recent report entitled "The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change for the Water Resources of the United States" provides a useful insight into the essential issues raised by climate change as it effects water resources. These are summarised in the Executive Summary.
The 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change
United Nations Environment Program
Global Climate Change: Selective List of Online Resources
The most comprehensive listing of online resources on Climate Change and water
Compiled by Wil Burns, Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security
Global Change: Electronic Edition. Extensive resources, news and debate.
The Climate Ark is a Climate Change Portal and Internet Search Tool that provides access to reviewed climate change and alternative energy news and information. Search the entire content of several hundred leading research and advocacy sites below, and browse the Huge Climate Change News Archive.
The IWMI World Water and Climate Atlas gives virtually instant summaries of climate data, by month, for any location on the globe. (International Water Management Institute)