x

Science

Climate Change Made Summer Drought 20 Times More Likely

October 6, 2022

Drought that stretched across three continents this summer — drying out large parts of Europe, the United States and China — was made 20 times more likely by climate change, according to a new study.

Drought dried up major rivers, destroyed crops, sparked wildfire, threatened aquatic species and led to water restrictions in Europe. It struck places already plagued by drying in the U.S., like the West, but also places where drought is more rare, like the Northeast. China also just had its driest summer in 60 years, leaving its famous Yangtze river half its normal width.

Researchers from World Weather Attribution, a group of scientists from around the world who study the link between extreme weather and climate change, say this type of drought would only happen once every 400 years across the Northern Hemisphere if not for human-caused climate change. Now they expect these conditions to repeat every 20 years, given how much the climate has warmed.

Ecological disasters like the widespread drought and then massive flooding in Pakistan, are the “fingerprints of climate change,” Maarten van Aalst, a climate scientist at Columbia University and study co-author, said.

“The impacts are very clear to people and are hitting hard,” he said, “not just in poor countries, like the flooding Pakistan …. but also in some of the richest parts of the world, like western central Europe.”

To figure out the influence of climate change on drying in the Northern Hemisphere, scientists analyzed weather data, computer simulations and soil moisture throughout the regions, excluding tropical areas. They found that climate change made dry soil conditions much more likely over the last several months.

This analysis was done using the warming the climate has already experienced so far, 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit), but climate scientists have warned the climate will get warmer, and the authors of the study accounted for that.

With an additional 0.8 degrees C degrees warming, this type of drought will happen once every 10 years in western Central Europe and every year throughout the Northern Hemisphere, said Dominik Schumacher, a climate scientist at ETH Zurich, a university in Switzerland.

“We’re seeing these compounding and cascading effect across sectors and across regions,” van Aalst said. “One way to reduce those impacts (is) to reduce emissions.”

 

RELATED

NEW YORK — Scientists discovered the oldest known DNA and used it to reveal what life was like 2 million years ago in the northern tip of Greenland.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Warnock or Walker? Georgia Runoff to Settle Last Senate Seat

ATLANTA — Georgia voters on Tuesday are set to decide the final Senate contest in the country, choosing between Democratic Sen.

Back in January, 109 container ships waited off the California coast to unload cargo in Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation's two largest ports.

NEW YORK – The major American news outlets watched with great interest as the historic Vespers at St.

NEW YORK — In 2022, the story of book publishing was often the industry itself.

NEW YORK — The Rev. Al Sharpton has been called a lot of names in his public life: a hustler, a racist, an opportunist, a fraud, a rat, a jester.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.