Transcripts of Ben_Cook_Drought_LS_youtube_hq

(Reporter) Well it's been a tale of two extremes this year for the United States. Severe drought has plagued places in the west coast, like California. Also Texas has seen severe drought, but recently southern California and Texas got rain. Does that mean those droughts are over? Here to tell use more is Dr. Ben Cook at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, thanks for joining us. (Cook) Thanks for having me. (Reporter) So its been a year of extreme weather in the United States. What are the NASA satellites showing us? (Cook) Well NASA has a fleet of twenty Earth Observing Satellites constantly taking measurements of the land surface, the oceans and the atmospheres and one of our most recent satellites is the Global Precipitation Measuring Mission launched in 2014 and what it's been able to show is really the extreme nature of rainfall over this last year over North America. In the image here we are looking at accumulated precipitation from January through June of this year. What you can see is the exceptional wetness in the eastern half of the United States. Including record rainfall and record droughts in Texas contrasting with west which has received very little rainfall constant with the ongoing droughts there. (Reporter) In the last couple of months, Texas and Southern California both experienced heavy rain after years of drought, does that mean those droughts are now over? (Cook) In the case of Texas by any indicator the drought is over but the thing to remember is that in Texas it was a multi-year long drought that really took an extreme, in fact wettest May on record to wipe it out in a single month. In the case of California, the news is maybe not so good. Hurricane Delores is only a drop in the bucket of the total amount water that has been lost, as shown here in the great satellite which measures total changes in ground water, surface water and snow cover. So in California we can expect to seethe drought continuing for at least another year and maybe some improvement this fall. (Reporter) Strong El-Nino in the Pacific ocean, what impact could that have? (Cook) Right now a moderate to strong is developing which means warm water is piling up in the eastern tropical Pacific and when this happens the jet streams over North America and many other parts of the globe get shifted. In the case of North America what that means, we can expect more winter storms come into Southern California and the south west and Texas so its very likely or hopeful that we'll see some drought improvement in those areas. Unfortunately with El-Nino there's winners and losers and so other places like the Amazon and Indonesia can expect much drier conditions this coming year and potentially big fires. (Reporter) Can we expect these types of extreme events in the future? (Cook) As we start to warm the planet we can expect the hydraulic cycle basically get super charged which means that both the dry and wet extremes are going to get more intense and more frequent. Over North America what we are seeing of all our state of the art model projections is the tendency towards increase drought in the future as precipetation patterns and as warming up the atmosphere starts to dry out the soils. Fore sure for most of western America expect to see a steady trend towards to drier and drier conditions (Reporter) And where can we learn more? (Cook) (Reporter) Thank you so much for joining us. (Cook) Thank You.