Drought is a quintessentially Australian experience, yet many of us don’t properly know how they form.
AAP Image/Caroline Duncan
High temperatures make droughts worse, right? Wrong: it's the other way around. Ahead of an El Niño summer that looks set to bring drought to much of Australia, here's a quick primer on how they form.
Raging – and costly.
US National Parks Service
Federal agencies pay much of the cost to fight forest fires, which means taxpayers are subsidizing the risky practice of building more homes at the wildland-urban interface.
Comparison of Sierra Nevada snowpack in 2015 v 2010.
According to scientists, tree-ring analysis shows that California drought is the worst it has been in 500 years.The study underscores the severity of current drought and the challenges of future water management in the state.
Coming to a forest near you?
A huge El Niño on the horizon bodes ill for drought and forest fire.
Storm clouds for California?
El Niño explained: how it works, what a mega El Niño this year could bring and how global warming might affect future El Niño-driven weather patterns.
Storms coming? El Niño is projected to lead to much-needed rain in California next year.
El Niño is expected to bring heavy rains to drought-stricken California, but more rain alone won't solve the West's water crisis.
Children from a village in Papua New Guinea’s Western Highlands Province stand in one of countless sweet potato gardens destroyed by frost across the country, August 2015.
Papua New Guinea is now facing a drought and frosts that look set to be worse than 1997, when hundreds of people died. So how can memories of 1997 save lives over the next few months?
Really dry: a Colorado River aqueduct in southern California.
Historical analysis shows that natural forces are behind California’s drought, but global warming has contributed 8%-27% to the drought’s severity.
People in the Philippines have been warned to brace for wet and wild weather, as this year’s El Nino shapes up to be the strongest since 1998.
EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO/AAP
The seesaw between El Niño and La Niña is set to get stronger with global warming. Signs are that this year and next will deliver a big swing from one to the other, prompting fires and floods across the world.
One more California wildfire from last year: getting more dangerous and more expensive.
The US West – suffering one of the most damaging wildfire seasons this decade – needs to break with current practices to avert more costly and dangerous wildfires in the future.
High and dry: a water-stressed forest in the US Southwest.
Forests take longer than expected to rebound from droughts, diminishing their role as global carbon sinks.
Plants in South Africa’s Western Cape area have tremendous variation in their sensitivity to drought.
Understanding how different species are likely to respond to drought is crucial to accurately predicting the impact of future climate change on plant communities.
In a hotter, drier West, who, besides fish, will be most harmed?
James Marvin Phelps/flickr
Hydrologists, climate scientists and policymakers are beginning to grapple with a difficult question: who will be affected most by longer and more frequent droughts?
Historic: weather patterns similar to what’s causing the drought in California are happening in Brazil.
The same persistent weather pattern bringing hot, dry conditions to California is likely connected to a punishing drought in the Sao Paulo area in Brazil.
How low can it go? The Hoover Dam in May.
As California enters another hot dry summer, policymakers from water and electric utilities are looking at ways to preserve these interdependent resources.
Go with the flow: scarce water has allowed Outback species to persist for millennia, where otherwise they might have died out.
The Outback covers 70% of Australia, and its water is precious and scarce. Yet there is no joined-up plan to monitor and manage Outback water, despite the wealth of species and communities that depend on it.
Cutting emissions will limit health damages and bring about important health improvements.
Pedro Ribeiro Simões/Flickr
Tackling climate change is the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century, a team of 60 international experts today declared in a special report for the medical journal The Lancet.
California’s heavy reliance on groundwater is raising worries.
General Physics Laboratory (GPL)
Can California – and its massive agriculture industry – endure the drought without destroying its groundwater resources?
Water makes all the difference for agricultural crops.
US Geological Survey
The majority of water that people use goes to agriculture. In a drier, hungrier future, we'll need to use what water we have with less waste. Technologies being developed now will help.
The de-greening of America.
Americans love their lawns but are lawns good for America, particularly in drought-stricken areas? A look at our grassy love affair and what might be better alternatives.