IPCC Technical Paper on Climate Change and Water


2008: This Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Technical Paper is the sixth paper in the IPCC Technical Paper series and was

produced in response to a proposal by the Secretariat of the World Climate

Programme – Water and the International Steering Committee of the Dialogue on

Water and Climate at the 19th Plenary Session of the IPCC, which took place in

Geneva, Switzerland in April 2002.

The Paper addresses the issue of freshwater and highlights the

interconnections among climate, freshwater, biophysical and socio-economic

systems. Sea level rise is dealt with only insofar as it can lead to impacts on

freshwater in coastal areas and beyond. The Paper recalls that observational records and climate projections

provide evidence that freshwater resources are vulnerable and have the potential

to be strongly impacted by climate change, with wide-ranging consequences on

human societies and ecosystems. It also finds that warming over several decades

has been linked to changes in the large-scale hydrological cycle such as:

increasing atmospheric water vapor content; changing precipitation patterns,

intensity and extremes; reduced snow cover and widespread melting of ice; and

changes in soil moisture and runoff. The authors conclude that freshwater-related issues are critical in

determining key regional and sectoral vulnerabilities, and that the

relationship between climate change and freshwater resources has implications

for all living species. [The Paper]