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Handbook of Environmental Engineering by Myer Kutz

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5Climate Change Impact Analysis for the Environmental Engineer

Panshu Zhao1, John R. Giardino2, and Kevin R. Gamache3

1 Water Management and Hydrological Science Graduate Program and High Alpine and Arctic Research Program (HAARP), Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA

2 Water Management and Hydrological Science Program and High Alpine and Arctic Research Program (HAARP), Department of Geology and Geophysics, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA

3 Water Management and Hydrological Science Program and High Alpine and Arctic Research Program (HAARP), The Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA

5.1 Introduction

More than half of the land surface of the Earth has been “plowed, pastured, fertilized, irrigated, drained, fumigated, bulldozed, compacted, eroded, reconstructed, manured, mined, logged, or converted to new uses” (Richter and Mobley, 2009). In less than three centuries, 46 million acres of the virgin landscape in America has been converted to urban uses, and in the next 25 years that number will more than double to 112 million acres (Carbonell and Yaro, 2005). Activities like these have far reaching impacts on life‐sustaining processes of the near‐surface environment, recently termed the “critical zone” (Richter and Mobley, 2009), and if the current rate of land transformation continues, it is unsustainable.

The biological and human systems of the Earth are already beginning to undergo transformation ...

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