From soybeans and sunflowers in North Dakota to cotton and winter wheat in Texas, large stretches of croplands in the U.S. Great Plains rely exclusively on rain. Those croplands are likely to face longer dry spells by mid-century.
A new analysis suggests that in the winter following a La Niña, dryness in California often deepens into drought. Consistent with that pattern, California’s current drought began in 2011-12, during the second year of a La Niña episode.
(Video) The Climate Prediction Center's outlook for December through February gives California a 2-in-3 chance of receiving normal precipitation or better. Cool, wet conditions are favored in some southern regions, while warm weather is favored to the west, including Alaska and Hawaii.
In the Northeast, the amount of rain that came down in very heavy events increased by more than 70 percent between 1958 and 2010. A new law in New York requires state agencies to start thinking ahead about increases in extreme rain and other climate change risks.
If mid-century projections of sea level rise prove true for New York City, four times as many people may be living in the 100-year floodplain than were previously estimated based only on observed changes.