AP

Climate change made summer drought 20 times more likely

Oct 5, 2022, 2:04 AM | Updated: Oct 11, 2022, 1:58 am

FILE - People walk close to the border at Yesa's reservoir affected by drought, on a sunny summer d...

FILE - People walk close to the border at Yesa's reservoir affected by drought, on a sunny summer day in Yesa, around 55 kilometers (34,17 miles), from Pamplona, northern Spain, Sept. 14, 2022. Widespread drought that dried up large parts of Europe, the United States and China this past summer was made 20 times more likely by climate change, according to a new study. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

(AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

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.”

___

Follow Drew Costley on Twitter: @drewcostley.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Photo: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is sworn-in before the House Committee on Hom...

the MyNorthwest Staff with wire reports

Senate dismisses two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security secretary, ends trial

The Senate dismissed impeachment charges against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, as Republicans pushed to remove him.

1 day ago

idaho gender-affirming care...

Associated Press

Supreme Court allows Idaho to enforce its ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth

The Supreme Court is allowing Idaho to enforce its ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth while lawsuits over the law proceed.

2 days ago

Image: Former President Donald Trump speaks to the press in Manhattan state court in New York City ...

Associated Press

Trump’s hush money trial gets underway; 1st day ends without any jurors selected

The historic hush money trial of Donald Trump got underway Monday with the arduous process of selecting a jury to hear the case.

3 days ago

Photo: Israeli Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran, in cent...

Tia Goldenberg and Josef Federman, The Associated Press

Israel is quiet on next steps against Iran — and on which partners helped shoot down missiles

On Sunday, Israel's leaders credited an international military coalition with helping thwart a direct attack from Iran.

4 days ago

Early phases of Iran's drone attack against Israel. (Photo: Getty Images)...

Associated Press

The Latest | Iran launches its first direct military attack against Israel

Iran launched its first full-scale military attack against Israel on Saturday, sending drones toward Israel.

5 days ago

Early phases of Iran's drone attack against Israel. (Photo: Getty Images)...

Associated Press

BREAKING: White House confirms Iran drone attacks towards Israel

JERUSALEM (AP) — The White House says it will provide unspecified support for Israel’s defense against an ongoing airborne attack from Iran. National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a Saturday statement that “Iran has begun an airborne attack against Israel.” She added: “The United States will stand with the people of Israel and […]

5 days ago

Climate change made summer drought 20 times more likely