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.



How we drained California dry

The wind finally blew the other way last night and kicked out the smoke from the burning Sierra. Down here in the flatland of California, we used to regard the granite mountain as a place…

State Of The Beach Report

Greta is known for her famous speeches before world leaders. She recently spoke at COP 26 where delegates from around the world are charged with fulfilling goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework…

Where in the World is the Water?

Water is the defining feature of this planet and fundamental to life as we know it. Most everyone knows that. Of course my special focus is the rise of sea level, primarily as a result of…

Science Empowering Communities In The Face Of Flooding

Surging Waters: Science Empowering Communities in the Face of Flooding is a report produced by AGU, a global not-for-profit scientific society dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity.

Water: A human and business priority

Water is the lifeblood of humanity. With it, communities thrive. But, when the supply and demand of fresh water are misaligned, the delicate environmental, social, and financial ecosystems on which we all rely are at…

How Is Climate Change Impacting The Water Cycle?

Find out how rising global temperatures affect the water cycle in our latest infographic.

Acid rain, explained

Acid rain describes any form of precipitation that contains high levels of nitric and sulfuric acids. It can also occur in the form of snow, fog, and tiny bits of dry material that settle to…

Water for People or Nature is a False Choice

When the first photo of Earth was taken from Apollo 17 in 1972, few could understand the cultural impact it would have. The Blue Marble, this singular sphere floating in deep space, was the perfect…


There’s so much to know about our H2O! Where does it come from and how does it get into our homes? How is it cleaned before we drink it? Which laws protect it? What other…

Ocean Facts

Get the facts about our ocean and coasts.

EWG’s Tap Water Data Base

Since 2012, water utilities' testing has found pollutants in Americans' tap water, according to an EWG drinking water quality analysis of 32 million state water records.


Our Love of Living Near Water Persists Despite the Dangers

By Mark Ellwood  Photo: Christopher Capozziello   06/09/21  
When Jaqui Lividini saw the house, she was instantly smitten: A cottage built in 1901, it was one of just three on the peninsula of Haycock Point on Long Island Sound in Connecticut, just east…

International Cutting-Edge SWOT Satellite to Survey the World’s Water

How much water sloshes around in Earth’s lakes, rivers, and oceans? And how does that figure change over time? The upcoming Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission plans to find out. Targeting a late-2022…

Crisis in Jackson Shows Why Water Investments Are Needed Now

By Kate Zerrenner   03/22/21  
Last week, more than a month after storms crippled the water system in the city, Jackson, Mississippi lifted its boil water notice. What on the surface appear to be a precautionary measure takes on a…

Known For Its Floods, Louisiana Is Running Dangerously Short Of Groundwater

By Tegan Wendland and Austin R. Ramsey  Photo: Austin R. Ramsey   03/19/21  
Louisiana is known for its losing battle against rising seas and increasingly frequent floods. It can sometimes seem like the state has too much water. But the aquifers deep beneath its swampy landscape face a…

Climate Change is Worsening Water Scarcity: How Business Can Help

By Kate Zerrenner   03/18/21  
About 4 billion people live in water-stressed areas and face severe water scarcity during at least one month each year. Over a billion more — including 1 in 4 children — will live in areas…

Scientists see stronger evidence of slowing Atlantic Ocean circulation, an ‘Achilles’ heel’ of the climate

By Chris Mooney and Andrew Freedman  Photo by Maja Hitij   02/25/21  
A growing body of evidence suggests that a massive change is underway in the sensitive circulation system of the Atlantic Ocean, a group of scientists said Thursday. The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), a system…

How this proposed constitutional amendment — Amendment D — protects water users

By Brian Maffly  Photo by Rick Bowme   10/22/20  
For decades, some of Utah’s larger cities have been in the retail water delivery business, building service areas that stretch far outside their municipal boundaries.

Ohio’s Beaches Get ‘F’ Grade On New Report

By Chris Mosby  Photo by Rick Uldricks   10/21/20  
Ohio's stretch of Great Lakes beaches received an "F" grade in a new report. The Surfrider Foundation's annual State of the Beach report issues letter grades (like a school report card) to beaches across the…

Deadly bacteria lurk in coastal waters. Climate change increases the risks

Illustration: Joanna Eberts   10/20/20  
Health workers see Vibrio as a rare danger, if they’ve heard of it at all. But it’s already causing more cases of flesh-eating disease. And it’s poised to get worse.

‘This Is a War’: Cross-Border Fight Over Water Erupts in Mexico

By Natalie Kitroeff   10/14/20  
Farmers in Mexico ambushed soldiers and seized a dam to stop water payments to the United States, in a sign of growing conflict over increasingly scarce resources.

Trump Just Lost the ‘Clean Water Case of the Century’

By Olivia Rosane  Photo: Reinhard Dirscherl / ullstein bild / Getty Images   04/24/20  
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration Thursday in a case Earthjustice called "the clean water case of the century."   The case concerned a Maui, Hawaii wastewater treatment plant that pumped around…

Trump Admin’s Clean Water Rollback Will Hit Some States Hard

By Tara Lohan   02/22/20  
By Tara LohanThe Santa Fe River starts high in the forests of New Mexico's Sangre de Cristo mountains and flows 46 miles to the Rio Grande. Along the way it plays important roles for wildlife,…

Edwards Aquifer Protection

TNC has helped protect nearly 120,000 acres of land above the Edwards Aquifer, which is one of the most important water resources in Texas.

U.S. Food Trade Increasingly Leans On Unsustainable Groundwater

By Bret Walton  Photo by Brett Walton   01/23/20  
American agriculture is a behemoth, a world-leading industry that, while meeting extensive domestic demands, still exports around $140 billion in farm products each year. Soybeans go to China. Cherries to Japan. Baskets of goods to…

Trump Removes Pollution Controls on Streams and Wetlands

By Coral Davenport  Photo by Jim Brandenburg   01/22/20  
The Trump administration on Thursday finalized a rule to strip away environmental protections for streams, wetlands and groundwater, handing a victory to farmers, fossil fuel producers and real estate developers who said Obama-era rules had…

The Water Crisis In Cities Everywhere Is Worsening Already Terrible Inequality

By Maanvi Singh   12/14/19  
While the rich can drill wells and keep swimming pools filled, poorer residents line up for water and struggle to survive.

20% of Global Population at Risk From Climate Chaos, Rising Demand of Mountain Water, Study Says

By Olivia Rosane   12/10/19  
The drinking water of 1.9 billion people is at risk from the climate crisis and the demand for water is rising, a study published Monday in Nature has found. The study set out to assess…

State of the Puget Sound: New report indicates additional marine stress

Climate change impacts and continued population growth stand to increase pressures on an ecosystem already in peril.

New Hampshire wants to test all bottled water for PFAS contaminants

As state and local officials adapt to new guidelines for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, bottled water is getting more attention.

Climate change could double greenhouse gas emissions from freshwater lakes

By University of Cambridge   11/18/19  
Every drop of fresh water contains thousands of different organic molecules that have previously gone unnoticed. By measuring the diversity of these molecules and how they interact with the environment around them, research has revealed…

The Clean Water Case of the Century

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to review Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund v. County of Maui. The fate of the nation’s clean water hangs in the balance.

Giant Water Battery Cuts University’s Energy Costs by $100 Million

A giant water battery that stands three-stories high will help The University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia reach its goal to be carbon neutral by 2025.NoneThe Queensland university's ambitious target date got a boon…

As Climate Warms, Plants May Demand More Water, Cutting Supplies for People

New study challenges many climate scientists' expectations that plants will make much of the world wetter in the future.

A new report ranks the cleanliness of airline water. It’s not great

Next time you're on a plane, you may want to pass on the coffee or tea.

What desert cities can teach us about water

A rise in temperatures coupled with population growth calls into question the long-term sustainability of desert cities.

In the Mountains, Climate Change Is Disrupting Everything, from How Water Flows to When Plants Flower

By Bob Berwyn  Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images   10/07/19  
With ominous orange-gray smoke clouds seething on the western horizon, it's easy to understand how Colorado's highest city and other mountain communities are directly threatened by global warming.

Successful Ocean-Monitoring Satellite Mission Ends

The Jason-2/Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM), the third in a U.S.-European series of satellite missions designed to measure sea surface height, successfully ended its science mission on Oct. 1.

River Flows All Across the Globe Are Dropping

By Eric Roston   10/02/19  
Groundwater pumping in some of the world’s critical watersheds exceeds safe levels. It’s causing surface waters to fall at an alarming rate.

‘No state in the country is spared’ from f‘No state in the country is spared’ from flooding risks, new report sayslooding risks, new report says

By Nina Pullano  Photo by National Geographic   09/25/19  
The United States is getting wetter, and people across the country, from local government officials to scientists, all need to help communities prepare for an uptick in flooding, a new report says.

Two Months in the Southern Ocean, for Science

Under the leadership of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory scientists, two different expeditions sailed to the stormy Southern Ocean to learn more about Earth’s climate history.

How Cape Town Avoided a Water Crisis at the Eleventh Hour

By Charlotte EdmondCape Town's water crisis got so bad last year that there were competitions to see who could wash their shirts the least. Restaurants and businesses were encouraging people not to flush after going…

This is what it’s like to swim through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Long-distance swimmer Ben Lecomte is helping collect scientific samples in a vortex of ocean plastic.

Extreme water stress affects a quarter of the world’s population, say experts

A quarter of the world's population across 17 countries are living in regions of extremely high water stress, a measure of the level of competition over water resources, a new report reveals.

Mapping the strain on our water supply

Pockets in several U.S. states - and across the globe - are draining their limited water supplies.

A Quarter of Humanity Faces Looming Water Crises

By Somini Sengupta and Weiyi Cai   08/06/19  
Countries that are home to one-fourth of Earth’s population face an increasingly urgent risk: The prospect of running out of water. From India to Iran to Botswana, 17 countries around the world are currently under…

Conserving Coastal Habitats Can Help Address Climate Change

Photo by Mark Conlin   07/11/19  
Paris Agreement provides framework for countries to protect vital ecosystems. Coastal wetlands and coral reefs are among the planet’s most biologically rich ecosystems, serving as nurseries and feeding grounds for a vast array of fish,…

The Water Future of Earth’s ‘Third Pole’

This article is part of a series that explores NASA research into Earth's fresh water and surveys how those advances help people solve real world problems. Learn more. Himalaya. Karakoram. Hindu Kush. The names of…

NASA Explores Our Changing Freshwater World

Water is so commonplace that we often take it for granted. But too much – or too little of it – makes headlines. Catastrophic flooding in the U.S. Midwest this spring has caused billions of…

World Oceans Day: 5 Key Issues

Saturday, June 8 was World Oceans Day – an annual event started in 1992. It might seem silly that we need a day to honor and remind us of the importance of the sea, but…

See the drastic toll climate change is taking on our oceans

By Kennedy Elliott   06/07/19  
For World Oceans Day, we look at the impact our carbon emissions are having, from the shore to the deep sea.  

From Toilet to Tap: What Cities Need to Overcome to Make That Happen

By Sasha Harris-Lovett and David Sedlak   05/17/19  
Recycled sewage will be a part of more cities’ water supplies in the future. But how do you get past the yuck factor?

Climate change and population growth are making the world’s water woes more urgent

As it scours the universe for signs of extraterrestrial life, nasa has a motto-cum-mission-statement: “Follow the water”. About 70% of the human body is made up of water, it says, and 70% of Earth’s surface…

50 Million Gallons of Toxic Water Flows Into Lakes and Streams Every Day in the US

By Elias Marat   02/22/19  
A new Associated Press report has blown the lid off the mining industry’s toxic effect on drinking water sources across the United States.

Trump EPA Proposes Major Rollback Of Federal Water Protections Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email

by Nathan Rott  Photo by Seth Perlman/AP   12/11/18  
Vast amounts of wetlands and thousands of miles of U.S. waterways would no longer be federally protected by the Clean Water Act under a new proposal by the Trump administration.

GRACE Sees Groundwater Losses Around the World

NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) has measured significant groundwater depletion around the world in recent years.