SOURCE: The Atlantic
DATE: August 31, 2017
SNIP: Humans have begun an international project to move water around the world, far more ambitious than any network of aqueducts or hydroelectric dams ever constructed or conceived.
The Earth system is getting warmer. Water is evaporating faster. There’s more of it in the air. It’s moving through the system faster. As a result, the coming centuries will play out under a new atmospheric regime, one with more extreme rain, falling in patterns unfamiliar to those around which civilization has grown.
For each degree Celsius of warming the atmosphere is able to hold 6 percent more water. For a planet that’s expected to warm by 4 degrees by the end of the century, that means a transition to a profoundly different climate.
“Rainfall extremes have increased in intensity I think at every latitude in the northern hemisphere,” says Massachusetts Institute of Technology climate scientist Paul O’Gorman.
In 2012, a study led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory oceanographer Paul Durack found that the global water cycle was actually speeding up at twice the rate predicted by climate models, likely intensifying by 16 to 24 percent by the end of the century.