Transcripts of Doug_Morton_Drought_LS_youtube_hq

(Reporter) It's been a tale of two extremes this year for the United States, severe drought has plagued the west coast and parts of Texas recently thought parts of California and Texas did get rain, but Here to tell us if those droughts are over and what it means for the rest of the country is Dr. Dough Morton, from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, thanks for joining us. (Morton) Thanks for having me. (Reporter) So this has been a year of extreme weather in the United States. What are NASA satellites telling us? (Morton) NASA has twenty Earth observing satellites looking down at our home planet. Constantly taking the pulse of everything from rainfall and droughts to fires and other storms systems. Last year we launch our most advanced rainfall monitoring mission called GPM. And that's giving us an unprecedented look at rainfall patterns over 2015. This animation shows the cumulative amounts rainfall since January across the lower 48. with those areas in red to purple having seen 6ft. of rain since January. While California and the desert southwest have been unusually dry. 7 inches in deficit this year and more than a year behind on their rain fall and snow fall, since this multi-year drought began. (Reporter) Parts of the country like Texas and Southern California recently experienced heavy rain after eperiencing years of drought, does that mean that those droughts are over? (Morton) Well big rainfall events and the wettest May on record did spell relief for Texas and parts of the midwest, but there is no quick fix for California's drought situation. This animation shows GRACE data where our satellites are sensitive to how water is moving around the surface of the Earth, changing Earth's gravity. These area in red actually shows regions that have lost water since 2003 in Califorina the amount of water that's been lost, just based on its weight would fill the entire state knee deep. As we look around the Globe, one of the unique aspects of NASA Satellite data we can see other parts of the globe that are similarly facing drought conditions, significantly like areas in Brazil where their major population centers are seeing similar drought cases to what we are see in California. (Reporter) A strong El-nino is developing in the Pacific Ocean, what impact could that have on the extreme weather we are seeing around the country? (Morton) We do see a moderate to strong El-Nino forming right now that classic pattern where warmer water pools off the coast of South America, and that tends to shift weather patterns and rainfall distributions around the world. What that means for the U.S. is a likely a shift in the jet stream bringing some of the storm tracks, especially during those winter months over California and the desert southwest that would bring much needed rain to those areas that have been in deficit, but it would need multiple years of those above average rainfalls and snowfalls to help California out of their drought situation. (Reporter) Can we expect to see more of these type of extreme weather events in the future? (Morton) So NASA Scientist like myself take the satellite data and combine it with our latest generation of computer models and that allow us to take a look not just now but project that into the future, for a likelihood of changes under a climate. This animation shows the projected summertime drought conditions across the next century, with those colors of red and brown showing regions that are likely experience more frequent and more severe drought conditions by the end of the century. So our understanding of the Earth as a system is really critical whether we are making those forecasts over days or decades. (Reporter) Where can we learn more? (Morton) More information about NASA satellites, the sciences and the scientists doing that work can be found at where there is really a treasure trove of information and animations to help us learn more about our home planet. (Reporter) Doug Morton, Thanks so much for joining us. (Morton) Thank You.