Connection made between the Recent Droughts and Global Warming

April 2003

Text by Ben Luce, president, NMSEA

An article in Science Magazine called “The Perfect Ocean for Drought”, by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers M. Hoerling and A. Kumar (Science, Vol. 299, p. 691-694), presents the first strong case that the droughts of 1998-2002 are indeed highly anomalous and consistent with global warming caused by emission of greenhouse gases. This is an important scientific milestone, and underlines the urgency for a dramatic reduction in CO2 emissions.

Two official announcements of Hoerling and Kumar's work (which we preserved in our archive) can be found here:

Here are some highlights of the study:

This reinforces the growing awareness that global warming is not something off in the future – its already well under way and having costly impacts.

For an introduction to the science and issues surrounding global warming, see the Global Warming Section of NMSEA's Energy Physics Primer.