Q and A

Since climate change means that the earth’s temperature is getting hotter, does it also mean the whole world is getting drier?

Rainfall patterns are influenced by temperature. As temperatures rise due to climate change, rainfall patterns are also changed. Some areas will receive less rain, while others receive more. In the United States, scientists expect that temperatures will rise everywhere, however they expect that the northern states will receive more rainfall per year, while the southern states receive less. 

Here is a map of how rainfall patterns might change in 70 years. The blue indicates areas which will receive more rain, while brown indicates areas which will receive less rain. More rain in areas where it historically didn’t rain may cause flooding. And less rain in areas where it historically rained a lot may cause those places to turn into deserts.

Projected Change in North American Precipitation (Rainfall) by 2080-2099*



* Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States by U.S. Global Change Research Program