Startling Photos Show Impact of Climate Change on Global Waterways


A set of startling photos show the devastating impact heatwaves and droughts have brought to rivers, lakes, and canals this summer.

The world’s waterways are drying up rapidly with climate change as the main reason.

A recent article by Bloomberg puts together a series of shocking photos that show a world “fully in the grip of accelerating climate change.”

News reporter Brian K Sullivan says that the water crisis has a “profound economic impact.”

“Losing waterways means a serious risk to shipping routes, agriculture, energy supplies — and drinking water,” he writes.

The world is in the grips of climate change and has profound economic consequences.

Losing waterways means a serious risk to shipping routes, agriculture, energy supplies — and drinking water

— Bloomberg Green (@climate) August 26, 2022

Zoom in on the Loire River in Varades, France

— Bloomberg Green (@climate) August 26, 2022

Or the Po River near Ficarolo, Italy

— Bloomberg Green (@climate) August 26, 2022

Here’s an exposed riverbed along the Jialing River near the confluence with the Yangtze River in Chongqing, China

— Bloomberg Green (@climate) August 26, 2022

The photos and report highlight the global nature of the problem with tourist cruises on the River Rhine in Europe, popular with American tourists, disrupted because of low levels.

In China, extreme summer is taking place on Asia’s longest river the Yangtze. The water level has affected the electricity generation at hydropower stations, with Shanghai being forced to reduce power consumption.

In the U.S. the lower Colorado River has caused water shortages in Arizona, Nevada and Mexico.

HTML4_ Then, there is concern about the low reservoir levels that supply water to millions and irrigation for agricultural purposes.

Low water levels reveal the exposed bed of the Rialb reservoir during a drought in La Baronia de Rialb, Spain

— Bloomberg Green (@climate) August 26, 2022

And in the US Southwest, dramatic low levels plague Lake Mead, as seen here from the Hoover Dam in Arizona

— Bloomberg Green (@climate) August 26, 2022

The Colorado River and its tributaries irrigate about 4. 5 million acres of land, generating about $1. 4 trillion a year in agricultural and economic benefits

— Bloomberg Green (@climate) August 26, 2022

This image shows the stark drop in water levels in the Lake Oroville reservoir in California from 2011 to 2022

— Bloomberg Green (@climate) August 26, 2022

The world’s hotter temperatures are causing waterways to literally evaporate away.

See more photographs in the report by @WeatherSullivan

— Bloomberg Green (@climate) August 26, 2022

Complex Reasons

This summer has been extreme, with multiple factors, including La Nina, combining to create these devastating dry spells. According to Daniel Swain (a University of California climatologist), climate change is the main reason for these extreme weather changes.

“There is clearly a role for climate change, which made multiple underlying, record-breaking, and in some cases, record-shattering heat waves dramatically more likely,” Swain tells Bloomberg.

Higher temperatures mean that snowy mountain ranges, that act as nature’s reservoir, are less snowy leaving less water to flow down in the summer during the melt.

” The loss of snow in the Alps and mountains glaciers has also been remarkable this summer, surprising even seasoned climatologists.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.