Impacts of climate change on the fate and behaviour of pesticides in surface and groundwater--A UK perspective

Sci Total Environ. 2006 Oct 1;369(1-3):163-77. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2006.05.019. Epub 2006 Aug 17.


Over the last two decades significant effort has been dedicated to understanding the fate and transport of pesticides in surface water and groundwater and to use this understanding in the development of environmental policy and regulation. However, there have been few studies that have investigated the relationships between pesticides and climate change, and where this work has been undertaken it has principally been in relation to the impacts of climate change on agricultural production rather than in the context of environmental protection. This study addresses that gap by reviewing how climate change may impact the fate and transport of pesticides in surface and groundwaters as a pre-cursor to quantitative studies. In order to structure the review, we have adopted a source-pathway-receptor approach where climate sensitivities of pesticide source terms, environmental pathways and receptors are reviewed. The main climate drivers for changing pesticide fate and behaviour are thought to be changes in rainfall seasonality and intensity and increased temperatures, but the effect of climate change on pesticide fate and transport is likely to be very variable and difficult to predict. In the long-term, indirect impacts, such as land-use change driven by changes in climate, may have a more significant effect on pesticides in surface and groundwaters than the direct impacts of climate change on pesticide fate and transport. The review focuses on climate change scenarios and case studies from the UK; however, the general conclusions can be applied more widely.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Fresh Water
  • Greenhouse Effect*
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Pesticides*
  • Rain
  • Temperature
  • United Kingdom
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical*
  • Water Supply


  • Pesticides
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical