Floods & Droughts By: Angela Yang

FLOODS

What causes the sea level to rise? Glaciers and ice sheets are melting and adding water to the oceans. Additionally, as the air gets warmer, they hold more moisture, therefore there's more heavier rainfall.

How does climate change affect floods? Warm air can hold more moisture than cold air. After long periods of droughts, the area gets hit by severe storms that can cause many floods.

The sea level rises at a rate of one eighth of an inch (3.2mm) per year

  • In places along U.S. coasts, nuisance flooding are 300%-900% more frequent than 50 years ago
  • In 2014. the global sea level was 2.6 in. (67mm) above 1993 sea level average
  • If people keep adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, and if the glaciers melt faster, by the end of the century the sea level could be from 7 in. to 23 in. higher than the sea level in 1990.

Examples

Joso, Japan

Japan: In Joso, the Kinugawa River burst its banks and the flood waters reached as far as 5 miles (8 km) from the breach. Cars and homes were carried away on strong and fast streams.

(Top): picture of Oroville Dam on June 23, 2005 (Bottom): river left of primary spillway on Feb. 11, 2017

Lake Oroville : Lake Oroville is a man-made lake that is suppose to serve as a reservoir used by people of California. The water level has risen up to 100% capacity and is still rising.

Droughts

What causes droughts? As the temperature rises, water evaporates from the land and oceans. Since 1970, droughts started to last longer and become more extreme worldwide.

Drought Intensities of the U.S. on 2/28/17

On February 28, 2017, moderate to extreme droughts cover 14.1% of United States (contiguous). Areas with extreme droughts also increased from 0.3% from the week before 2/18 to 0.5%.

Drought Intensities for Northeast comparing last year to this year's drought

On 3/01/16, 96.26% of the area had no droughts and 3.74% of the area were Abnormally Dry. On 2/28/17, there was only 53.17% percent of the Northeast that had no droughts while 46.83% were Abnormally Dry.

Questions

Why is it important? It is important to learn about how climate change affected floods and droughts. As the climate gets warmer due to global warming, the warm air is able to hold more moisture, resulting long periods of droughts and floods. Increase in floods and droughts indicate that the climate is warming up.

What is known about your topic? Scientists that study climate change are using computer models to predict warm atmosphere. They've been analyzing data in the past and comparing it to the present. The scientists found out that in the past recent years the floods and droughts had been increasing rapidly.

What is still unknown? Scientists predict that more extreme weather are going to occur in the future with longer periods of droughts, and later, multiple disastrous storms happening at the same area after it had been dry for so long.

  • "Japan Floods: City of Joso Hit by 'unprecedented' Rain." BBC News. BBC, 10 Sept. 2015. Web. 05 Mar. 2017.
  • "Global Warming and Floods." National Wildlife Federation. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Mar. 2017.
  • Heim, Richard. "Northeast | U.S Drought Portal." Northeast | U.S Drought Portal. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2017.
  • Liberto, Tom Di. "Flooding Concerns at Oroville Dam as Water Levels Reach Capacity | NOAA Climate.gov." Flooding Concerns at Oroville Dam as Water Levels Reach Capacity | NOAA Climate.gov. N.p., 14 Feb. 2017. Web. 05 Mar. 2017.
  • "U.S. Drought Monitor Update for February 28, 2017." National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). N.p., 02 Mar. 2017. Web. 05 Mar. 2017.
  • Lindsey, Rebecca. "Climate Change: Global Sea Level | NOAA Climate.gov." Climate Change: Global Sea Level | NOAA Climate.gov. N.p., 10 June 2016. Web. 05 Mar. 2017.
  • "More Droughts." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2017
  • "Rising Sea Level." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2017.
  • Upton, John. "Louisiana Floods Directly Linked to Climate Change." Climate Central. N.p., 07 Sept. 2016. Web. 06 Mar. 2017.
  • Beckett, Andrew. "Drought Vs. Flood In Australia." X vs Y. N.p., 25 Dec. 2013. Web. 06 Mar. 2017.
  • Steffen, Will. "Climate Commission." Back to Climate Commission Front Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2017.

Credits:

Created with images by NASA Goddard Photo and Video - "Glaciers and Sea Level Rise"

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