With ice melting, sea levels rising and wet storm systems proliferating in both intensity and numbers, one might think that climate change would result in too much water rather than less.
But, according to Paul Fleming, convening lead author of the Water Resources chapter of the National Climate Assessment released last year by President Barack Obama’s administration, one would be wrong.
“Climate change is affecting the water cycle and water resources in a number of different ways,” he says in this video from The Story Group. “We’ve observed increases in intensity of precipitation across the U.S., and we project that that’s going to continue to occur.”
Paradoxically, he adds, dry spells are increasing in length as well, even as flooding is expected to increase where annual precipitation drops.
“So it’s a very complex, really interesting story line of how droughts and floods and precipitation have these interplays with each other,” he says.
In other words, the changes are not linear. But they are inexorable.
“This is really a call for America to find out, ‘What does climate change mean for where you live and operate?” Fleming says, “and what can you do to be better prepared for the changes that are coming?”