Publication Date March 14, 2023 | Climate Nexus Hot News

Scientists Find Climate Change Behind Extreme Drought And Rain

I bird is shown flying over a dry water bed.
The most intense dry event the study recorded was in Brazil and Venezuela from 2015 to 2016, which experts say was worse than the current drought in the southwestern US.

In a new study published in Nature Water, authors find a warming planet is increasing the frequency, duration, and severity of drought and heavy rainfall events. “This is an observation. It’s actual data,” Matthew Rodell, a hydrologist at NASA and co-author of the study told the Washington Post. More severe drought and rainfall occurred in the last 8 years than in the previous decade, a trend that authors find is attributable to anthropogenic climate change. The scientists used a pair of satellites to measure how the Earth stored water - in groundwater, surface water, ice, and snow - over 1,000 events from from 2002 to 2021. “It’s incredible that we can now monitor the pulse of continental water from outer space,” Park Williams, a bioclimatologist who was not involved in the study told the AP. “I have a feeling when future generations look back and try to determine when humanity really began understanding the planet as a whole, this will be one of the studies highlighted.”

(PBS NewsHourAPCNNWashington Post $, New York Times $)

(Climate Signals BackgroundDroughtExtreme Precipitation)

To receive climate stories like this in your inbox daily click here to sign up for the Hot News Newsletter from Climate Nexus: