Scientists say a long-feared megadrought, worse than anything in recorded history, seems to be starting up in southwestern North America.
Water Scarcity Archives - State of the Planet
New study challenges many climate scientists’ expectations that plants will make much of the world wetter in the future.
Upmanu Lall is director of the Columbia Water Center, and the lead author of the new U.S. National Climate Assessment’s chapter on water resources. The report paints a dire picture of the nation’s climate future. We spoke with Lall about the outlook for water supplies, quality and infrastructure.
Two new papers find that the line that divides the moist East and arid West is edging eastward due to climate change—and the implications for farming and other pursuits could be huge.
Thousands of years before Biblical times, during a period when temperatures were unusually high, the lands around the Dead Sea now occupied by Israel, Jordan and surrounding nations suffered megadroughts far worse than any recorded by humans. Warming climate now threatens to return such conditions to this already hard-pressed region.
California’s wet and snowy winter brings welcome relief from a years-long drought that has challenged the state’s water supply and agricultural system. But climate scientist Richard Seager of Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory offers words of caution: Remember what happened, because it will happen again.
The Indian state of Jharkhand has plentiful rainfall, but most of that water runs off before it can be put to use by farmers, who struggle to make a living. To help improve irrigation and crop productivity, the Centers for International Projects Trust and Ranchi’s Birsa Agricultural University turned to a simple traditional technology, “dobhas,” small ponds that can store rainwater for months at a time.
If U.S. sulfur dioxide emissions are cut to zero by 2100, as some researchers have projected they will be, rainfall over Africa’s Sahel region could increase up to 10 percent from 2000 levels, computer simulations suggest.
For Mexico City’s biggest businesses and its poorest neighborhoods, rainwater harvesting could help address an enormous water crisis plaguing the city, a recent Columbia Water Center study found.
Michelle Ho grew up in Australia, the driest inhabited continent, with an appreciation for the value of having a clean glass of water to drink. Now, she conducts research for the Columbia Water Center on America’s water systems.