Earth is Drying Out
Global water stress is increasing, sea levels are rising, groundwater levels are falling, habitable land is drying, ocean chemistry and surface flows are changing, and a water crisis is growing across our planet.
Less rainfall is expected over land than the oceans, as rising temperatures increase evaporation, which increases atmospheric water, causing heavier, yet unevenly distributed rainfall because land warms faster than the oceans.
Nearly half the world population (about 4 billion people) experience severe water scarcity at least one month each year, and this is expected to grow to 5 billion people by 2050.
Climate change is shifting the water cycle, melting the polar ice caps, amplifying regional precipitation-evaporation patterns, and intensifying local droughts, wildfires, and extreme weather events, creating a “dry get drier, wet get wetter” climate paradigm across much of Earth’s habitable land, i.e., the midlatitude subtropics, including North America, Eurasia, and Australia.
Human activities are using more fresh water than Earth’s water cycle can replenish naturally because we have dammed, diverted, over-pumped, and polluted our fresh water rivers, lakes, streams, and groundwater aquifers.