Climate change will mean more rain for some—and none for others

“When the well's dry, we know the worth of water,” Benjamin Franklin wrote in a 1746 edition of "Poor Richard’s Almanac". Although his intention was allegorical—the 18th century equivalent of “we don’t know what we’ve got ‘till it’s gone"—two centuries of questionable water management from the Dust Bowl to the recent California drought would transform his metaphor into a truism. Water is life, after all, and according to a recent study in the journal Science Advances, [climate change] (http://www.popsci.com/tags/climate-change) threatens our supply by shifting where future rain will fall.

“We’re interested in how the planet’s water resources are going to change in the future with a warming planet,” says study author Aaron Putnam, an Assistant Professor at the University of Maine's School of Earth and Climate Sciences & Climate Change Institute.

 

Putnam’s research found that climate change will shift the Earth’s thermal equator—the area around which the planet’s rain belts and dry zones are organized. During the northern hemisphere’s summer, wet areas will get wetter, and dry areas will get drier. During winter, rain belts and drylands will expand northward.

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