Our warming climate has affected water on earth in profoundly interconnected ways — as the oceans heat and the glaciers and ice shelves melt, they all contribute to sea level rise. Global warming also increases water vapor in the atmosphere, which leads to more frequent heavy rain and snowstorms — all of which leads to heavier flooding. Additionally, a warmer and more moist atmosphere over the oceans makes it likely that the strongest hurricanes will be more intense, produce more rainfall, and possibly be larger.
Since tracking began in 1980, the top four most economically costly US weather and climate disasters are water-related:
- tropical cyclones (hurricanes) at $997.3 billion
- droughts at $258.9 billion
- severe storms at $286.3 billion
- inland flooding at $151.0 billion
There are also the threats to groundwater as critical reservoirs and aquifers are emptied at a rate far outpacing their natural replenishment, in part due to agriculture (about 70%), but cities play their part as well.
Maybe time to visit these 10 incredible places before they vanish — all due to climate change-related water issues.
More to learn about water here.