Climate change made summer drought 20 times more likely

Drought that stretched across three continents this summer — drying out large parts of Europe, the United States and China — was made 20 times more likely by climate change, according to a new study.

Drought dried up major rivers, destroyed crops, sparked wildfire, threatened aquatic species and led to It struck places already plagued by drying in the U.S., , but also places where drought is more rare, . China also just had its , leaving its famous Yangtze river half its normal width.

Researchers from World Weather Attribution, a group of scientists from around the world who study the link between extreme weather and climate change, say this type of drought would only happen once every 400 years across the Northern Hemisphere if not for human-caused climate change. Now they expect these conditions to repeat every 20 years, given how much the climate has warmed.

Ecological disasters like the widespread drought and then are the “fingerprints of climate change,” Maarten van Aalst, a climate scientist at Columbia University and study co-author, said.