A ‘thirsty’ atmosphere is propelling Northern California’s drought into the record books

By Paul Duginski | September 25, 2021 | Los Angeles Times

Increasing evaporative demand is escalating summertime drought severity in California and the West, according to climate researchers.

Evaporative demand is essentially the atmosphere’s “thirst.” It is calculated based on temperature, humidity, wind speed and solar radiation. It’s the sum of evaporation and transpiration from plants, and it’s driven by warmer global temperatures, which can be attributed to climate change.

The meteorological summer of 2021 in the contiguous United States, which runs from June through August, tied the extreme heat of the Dust Bowl summer in 1936.

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