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The Climate Crisis Brought Us Megadroughts, But Also Megafloods

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Wednesday, August 25, 2021

The string of U.S. floods comes about a month after catastrophic flooding in Germany and Belgium, which left a trail of destruction and killed nearly 200 people. Megadroughts and megafloods might seem like opposites, but they are in fact two sides of the same deadly coin. As human greenhouse gas emissions drive up global temperatures, the world can expect both extreme events to become more frequent and severe, warned a recent landmark report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.“There’s increasing evidence for an overintensification of the water cycle,” said Alex Ruane, a NASA scientist and a lead author of the IPCC report’s chapter on regional impacts. “Water is moving through the climate system faster than it used to. That means it is being evaporated into the air faster, it’s being moved around, and it’s raining down harder when it does rain. All of these things are actually connected to the same factor, which is that warmer air has a tendency to hold more moisture.”

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