Global warming worsens disasters
LOS ANGELES. – The intensity of extreme drought and rainfall has “sharply” increased over the past 20 years, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Water. These aren’t merely tough weather events, they are leading to extremes such as crop failure, infrastructure damage, even humanitarian crises and conflict.
The big picture on water comes from data from a pair of satellites known as GRACE, or Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, that were used to measure changes in Earth’s water storage — the sum of all the water on and in the land, including groundwater, surface water, ice, and snow.
“It’s incredible that we can now monitor the pulse of continental water from outer space,” said Park Williams, a bioclimatologist at the University of California, Los Angeles who was not involved with the study.
“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,” he said.
The researchers say the data confirms that both frequency and intensity of rainfall and droughts are increasing due to burning fossil fuels and other human activity that releases greenhouse gases.
The strong link between these climate extremes and rising global average temperatures means continued global warming will mean more drought and rainstorms that are worse by many measures — more frequent, more severe, longer and larger. – AP