Mediterranean water cycle

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Planetary Visions (credit: ESA/Planetary Visions)


As our climate changes, the availability of freshwater is a growing issue for many people around the world. Understanding the water cycle and how the climate and human usage is causing shifts in natural cycling processes is vital to safeguarding supplies. For example, the Mediterranean region only has 3% of the world's freshwater resources, while it is home to 7.3% of the world’s population. Nearly 60% of the world's water-poor people – those that survive on less than an average of 1000 cubic metres per person per year – live in southern Mediterranean countries and in the Middle East alone. While numerous satellites measure individual components of the water cycle, it has never been studied as a whole over a particular region. However, thanks to a project funded by ESA that allowed scientists to merge satellite data from various partner space agencies, the full water cycle over the Mediterranean can be better understood.

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