NATURAL SCIENCE

Climate change impacts on water resources in Ghana

K. Kankam-Yeboah*, B. Amisigo* and E. Obuobi**
CSIR Water Research Institute, P.O. Box M. 32, Accra
*Senior Research Scientist   **Research Scientist

Introduction

Although climate change is not a new phenomenon, in this present age, it has taken the centre stage in the development agenda of both the developed and developing countries.

This is, perhaps due to the compelling evidence which roll in by the day supporting the existence of the phenomenon, making it difficult for countries that are conservative when it comes to climate change issues and some climate change deniers to openly ignore it.

Climate change simply refers to increase in the average global surface temperatures caused mainly by anthropogenic increase in concentration of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), in the earth’s atmosphere.

Throughout history, the earth’s climate has varied, sometimes very significantly.

This is caused by natural mechanisms including (a) continental drift which has changed the features of the earth’s landmass, their position and the position of water bodies, and consequently changing the flow of ocean currents and winds;

(b) large volcanic eruptions which throw out large amounts of sulphur dioxide (SO2), water vapour, dust and ash into the atmosphere which could influence climate patterns for years;

(c) orbital variations which can affect the severity of climate seasons (e.g., summer, winter, harmmattan);

(d) changes in atmospheric composition which can lead to global warming and;

(e) ocean circulation. Except for volcanic eruptions, climate variations caused by natural mechanisms are slow and sometimes take millions of years to happen, by which time the earth’s systems would have adjusted to the change.

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