Precipitation is one of the key climate variables. The direct impacts from a warming temperature are important, but the indirect impact through changes in precipitation and storm intensity will be even bigger. — Aiguo Dai, atmospheric scientist and professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the University at Albany, SUNY
Precipitation is one of the key climate variables. The direct impacts from a warming temperature are important, but the indirect impact through changes in precipitation and storm intensity will be even bigger. — Aiguo Dai, atmospheric scientist and professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the University at Albany, SUNY
America Today: Too Much Water, or Not Enough
The United States, like most of the world, is becoming both drier and wetter. It depends where you live.

In New York City, a tropical storm delivered record-breaking rains this weekend. Heavy downpours caused devastating flash floods in central Tennessee, tearing apart houses and killing more than 20 people. Yet, California and much of the West remained in the most widespread drought in at least two decades, the product of a long-term precipitation shortfall and temperatures that are much hotter than usual.

This divide, a wetter East and a drier West, reflects a broader pattern observed in the United States in recent decades. Similar patterns can be seen worldwide: On average, global land areas have seen more precipitation since 1950. But even as much of the world has become wetter, some regions have become drier.

It’s not yet clear whether these changes are a permanent feature of our warming climate, or whether they reflect long-term weather variability. But they are largely consistent with predictions from climate models, which expect to see more precipitation overall as the world warms, with big regional differences. Broadly: Wet places get wetter and dry places get drier.

... Quotable: “Precipitation is one of the key climate variables,” said Aiguo Dai, a professor of atmospheric science. “The direct impacts from a warming temperature are important, but the indirect impact through changes in precipitation and storm intensity will be even bigger.”
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/25/climate/nyt-climate-newsletter-drought-floods.html