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In a recent paper led by Susan (Shufen) Pan, an assistant professor in Auburn University’s International Center for Climate and Global Change Research, findings about evapotranspiration imply that more than half of the global land area could experience water scarcity by the end of 21st century. The research warns that in two climate change scenarios, global warming would result in large increase of surface evapotranspiration at the end of the 21st century, a measure of the amount of water lost from the land surface. The team also found that the ratio of evapotranspiration to precipitation would greatly increase across the global land area. In particular, regions like Africa would face the largest increase in evapotranspiration, a problem compounded in this area, for example, where at least 44% of the population does not currently have access to clean, reliable water supplies. From both scientific and policy perspectives, it is of critical importance to preparing for water scarcity in the 21st century as well as minimizing potential climate change impacts through alleviating greenhouse gases emissions.

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