Summer drought may be preview of extreme weather cycles

August 24, 2022 – Drought conditions in parts of Massachusetts and other Northeast states are likely to be repeated in future years as climate change hastens extreme weather cycles, in which dry periods become drier and wet periods wetter, according to experts.

“We already know that New England has seen the greatest increase in heavy downpours, so we expect that climate change is driving an intensification of water cycles—both more intense floods and intense droughts,” said Aaron Bernstein, interim director of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (Harvard Chan C-CHANGE), in an August 18, 2022 CNN article.

Bernstein also noted in an August 18, 2022 Boston Globe article that drought can take a toll on health. For instance, as water levels drop, pollutants and pathogens in groundwater can become more concentrated and contaminate private wells, which many people in New England rely on. Farmers may also experience high levels of stress from worrying about their crops and livestock, he said.

Read the CNN article: All of Massachusetts now in drought amid alarming expansion of dry conditions in Northeast

Read the Boston Globe article: ‘What’s the future going to be?’: This summer’s drought warns of increasing climate variability in years to come