Using satellite measurements of almost 2,000 of the world’s largest lakes and reservoirs and images taken over 30 years, University of Colorado Boulder researchers found that 53 percent of the freshwater resources studied had lost significant amounts of water. Half of the loss, the researchers found, is attributable to human activities and climate change. University of Oregon researcher Sarah Cooley, who was not involved in the study, told Inside Climate News “the major takeaway of this study is that drying trends in lakes are prevalent worldwide, and perhaps more so than previously thought.”

Shrinking lakes and sources of freshwater have contributed to starvation and dislocation around the world, impacts that could be exacerbated from a warming world. In reservoirs, the study found that increased sedimentation – the deposit of rock or soil from erosion – drove a significant decline in reservoir water levels. (Inside Climate News, Reuters, CNN, Washington Post $)