An August 23, 2022 story by meteorologist Matthew Cappucci in the Washington Post: Five 1,000-year rain events have struck the U.S. in five weeks. Why? – Precipitation extremes are now more feast or famine because of climate change
St. Louis: 7.87 inches of rain fell in six hours on July 26, 2022.
Eastern Kentucky north of Hazard: North fork of the Kentucky River rose 11-feet in 5 hours on July 27, 2022, 6-feet above the previous record.
Eastern Illinois: 8 to 13 inches of rain in about 12 hours near Effingham the night of August 1, 2022.
Death Valley, California: Due to the speed in which 1.46-inches of rain fell on August 5, 2022, it was classified as a 1,000-year rain event.
DFW International Airport: August 22, 2022 was both its wettest day and wettest hour on record.
Parts of the United States, especially in the West, are gripped by an inveterate and devastating drought — yet many drought-stricken areas have experienced rare and extreme flooding over the summer, bringing fiercely different precipitation extremes to the region in a matter of hours. On Monday, parts of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex awoke to torrential downpours that dropped totals of 10 to 16 inches, bringing calamitous impacts and prompting widespread water rescues. Then Monday became the airport’s (DFW International Airport) wettest calendar day on record.Meteorologist Matthew Cappucci in the Washington Post
The old term “feast or famine” has evolved into “drought to deluge” for many areas.
While no single weather event is caused by mankind’s influence on the atmosphere, the weather facing the nation bears the fingerprint of a warming world. While it seems contradictory, both drought and flooding are closely tied to human-driven warming and are altering our environment and how we interact with it.Meteorologist Matthew Cappucci in the Washington Post
In a 2017 paper, Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University, found the return period of a 7.4-foot storm surge flood in New York City had decreased from once every 500 years in preindustrial times to once every 25 years since. It could become a once-per-five-year event toward the middle of the century. Precipitation extremes follow a similar trend.
“Recurrence intervals start to lose their meaning for ‘nonstationary’ systems, in this case because there is a trend toward greater extremes in a warming climate.”Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University
It’s well-established that a warmer world is a wetter world. That’s due to something called the Clausius-Clapeyron relation. For every degree Fahrenheit the air temperature warms, the air can hold about 4 percent more water. No weather is caused by climate change. Weather will always be weather. But the signature of a warming world is now perceptible every day in the conditions we regularly face.Meteorologist Matthew Cappucci in the Washington Post
Images: “Truth in Ten” by the Climate Reality Project
MORE: Pakistan flooding deaths pass 1,000 in ‘climate catastrophe’
“We are at the moment at the ground zero of the front line of extreme weather events, in an unrelenting cascade of heatwaves, forest fires, flash floods, multiple glacial lake outbursts, flood events and now the monster monsoon of the decade is wreaking non-stop havoc throughout the country,” said Sherry Rehman, a Pakistani senator and the country’s top climate official. The unprecedented monsoon season has affected all four of the country’s provinces. Nearly 300,000 homes have been destroyed, numerous roads rendered impassable and electricity outages have been widespread, affecting millions of people.