Thanks to its wettest 12-month period on record, the United States currently has one of its smallest drought footprints ever witnessed, NOAA reported Wednesday.
“Total [precipitation] of 919.48 mm (36.20 inches) made the period from May 2018 to April 2019 the first year-long span ever to top 914.4 mm (36 inches),” Weather Underground meteorologist Bob Henson said.
All that rain and snow has resulted in just 2% of the country being in drought — the 2nd smallest drought footprint on record at the end of April.
Here’s this years early May drought impact:
Compared with 2018’s early May drought:
And while an end to the drought is clearly good news, the excessive rain and snow(melt) are flooding vast areas of the country. More than 100 river and stream gauges, mostly in the central United States, are reporting moderate to major flooding.
The mid-range forecasts are for these wetter-than-normal conditions to continue as the effects of the current El Niño (the episodic warming of waters in tropical Pacific Ocean) persist and couple with the influx of record-levels of Cosmic Rays.
COSMIC RAYS AND CLOUD NUCLEATION
Galactic Cosmic Rays are a mixture of high-energy photons and sub-atomic particles accelerated toward Earth by supernova explosions and other violent events in the cosmos. Solar Cosmic Rays are the same, though their source is the sun.
Cosmic rays hitting Earth’s atmosphere create aerosols which, in turn, seed clouds — making cosmic rays an important player in our weather and climate (Svensmark et al).
During solar minimum, like the one we’re entering now, the sun’s magnetic field weakens and the outward pressure of the solar wind decreases — this allows more cosmic rays to penetrate our planet’s atmosphere. And, with this being a Grand Solar Minimum we’re headed into, Cosmic Rays should be off the charts — and that’s exactly what researchers are seeing:
Furthermore, along with an uptick in localised precipitation, increased cloud cover has another major implication for our climate:
“Clouds are the Earth’s sunshade, and if cloud cover changes for any reason, you have global warming — or global cooling,” — Dr. Roy Spencer.
The upshot of our descent into this next Grand Solar Minimum, and resulting increase in Cosmic Rays, will be a cooling of the planet.
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