Drought is up, and climate change seems partly to blame, report says

The proportion of the planet’s land area suffering from drought has more than doubled since the 1970s, to about 30 percent, according to a recent study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Researchers attribute about half of that change to rising temperatures caused by global warming rather than to a lack of precipitation. The drying has been widespread in Europe, Asia, Canada, western and southern Africa, and eastern Australia, said Aiguo Dai, the study’s lead author. Climate models predict that rising temperatures will lead to most of earth’s land masses experiencing more warm-season drying in coming decades. “Our analyses suggest that this [greenhouse-related] drying may already have begun,” said Dai.