Global climate change is a certainty. The Earth's climate has
never remained static for long and the prospect for
human-accelerated climate change in the near future appears likely.
Freshwater systems are intimately connected to climate in several
ways: they may influence global atmospheric processes affecting
climate; they may be sensitive early indicators of climate change
because they integrate the atmospheric and terrestrial events
occurring in their catchments; and, of course, they will be
affected by climate change. An improved predictive understanding of
environmental effects on pattern and process in freshwater
ecosystems will be invaluable as a baseline upon which to build
sound protection and management policies for fresh waters. This
book represents an early step towards this improved understanding.
The contributors accepted the challenge to assume global warming of
2-5oC in the next century. They then explored the implications of
this scenario on various freshwater ecosystems and processes. To
provide a broader perspective, Firth and Fisher included several
chapters which do not deal expressly with freshwater ecosystems,
but rather discuss climate change in terms of causes and
mechanisms, implications for water resources, and the use of remote
sensing as a tool for expanding studies from local to global scale.