Underwater and on fire: US climate change magnifies extremes


This combination of photos shows a firefighter at the North Complex Fire in Plumas National Forest, Calif., on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, left, and a person using a flashlight on flooded streets in search of their vehicle, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020, in Pensacola, Fla. In the past week, swaths of the country have been burning and flooding in devastating extreme weather disasters. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, Gerald Herbert)

(AP) America this week has been both burning and underwater. Scientists say this shows how climate change is magnifying the extremes in weather, especially rainfall, that the United States gets. Rainfall polarizes America as much as politics. Already dry, the area west of the Rockies has gotten 26% drier in the summer in the last 30 years, worsening wildfires. But in the east, it’s not just hurricanes like Sally that are making it 16% wetter in the summer. Massive non-tropical downpours are giving the East the opposite problem the West has. Scientists say both problems are made worse by man-made climate change.

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(This story was originally published on September 19, 2020)


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