Severe drought has led to reduced harvests, power outages, and wildfires throughout the summer in North America, Europe, and Asia. According to the new large-scale research conducted by an international group of researchers from the Global Initiative to Determine the Causes of Climate Change, the probability of catastrophic summer drought in the Northern Hemisphere has increased 20 times due to anthropogenic climate change.
In August, officials stated that Europe is probably in the epicenter of the worst drought in the last 500 years. That same month, southern China officially entered its longest drought in 60 years of observations. Drought-stricken California experienced the three driest years in the entire history of observations.
World Weather Attribution, examining the Northern Hemisphere, determined that conditions similar to the summer of 2022 drought can be expected once every 20 years.
The researchers measured the drought by tracking soil moisture between June and August. Using real-world observations and climate models, they made a comparison between what happened this summer and what could happen in a world where greenhouse gas emissions did not cause the planet to overheat. Not surprisingly, they concluded that this summer’s sharp rise in temperature, which is already linked to climate change, was the main cause of the drought. Earlier this year, the initiative published another report saying that the UK’s record July heatwave would not have been possible without climate change.
US Drought Monitor Map shows the western United States ablaze with shades of yellow, orange, and red that indicate conditions range from abnormally dry to exceptionally dry.
Californians are being asked to save water, which the state needs for things like keeping the lights on and growing food. Historic drought cuts state hydropower production and forces farmers to leave fields unseeded. Problems are also growing in regions of Europe and Asia struggling with drought.