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Global shallow groundwater from 2003 to 2021. Credits: NASA

Warming Makes Droughts, Extreme Wet Events More Frequent, Intense

Scientists have predicted that droughts and floods will become more frequent and severe as our planet warms and climate changes, but detecting this on regional and continental scales has proven difficult. Now a new UMD and NASA study confirms that major droughts and pluvials – periods of excessive precipitation and water storage on land – have indeed been occurring more often.

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Kimberly Slinski. Image credit: Kimberly Slinski/Adam Wood/Faye Levine/University of Maryland. Effects by Nuwan Paditha (Click image to download hi-res version)

Predicting Droughts from Space

Kimberly Slinski can’t stop droughts from happening, but she can see them coming. Her warnings help entire regions of the world prepare for water shortages, crop failures and food insecurities that follow severe droughts. As an assistant research scientist in the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, Slinski uses satellite data to monitor water availability in drought-prone regions around the world.

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Caption: The Water Point Viewer’s current water points stretch from Mali to Somalia.

ESSIC Scientist Expands Water Availability Prediction in East and West Africa

ESSIC Researcher Kimberly Slinski is the Principal Investigator on “Earth Observation-Based Monitoring and Forecasting of Rangeland Water Resources”, a newly funded project that aims to develop new capabilities for monitoring and forecasting water availability in African rangeland ponds. The project team includes Shrad Shukla and Chris Funk of the University of California Santa Barbara, Mike Jasinski of NASA GSFC, and Gabriel Senay of USGS.

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The figure above shows the percentage of months under moderate to extreme drought conditions during the crops’ critical growing months from January 1979 to December 2018. The

Drought Characteristics in Argentina

CISESS Deputy Director E. Hugo Berbery has a new article published on May 17th in the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences titled “Characteristics of droughts in Argentina’s Core Crop Region”.

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