Drought ranks second in terms of national weather-related economic impacts, with annual losses nearing $9 billion per year in the U.S. Beyond direct economic impacts, drought can threaten drinking water supplies and ecosystems, and can even contribute to increased food prices.
Global warming affects evapotranspiration—the movement of water into the atmosphere from land and water surfaces and plants due to evaporation and transpiration— which is expected to lead to: Increased drought in dry areas. In drier regions, evapotranspiration may produce periods of drought—defined as below-normal levels of rivers, lakes, and groundwater, and lack of enough soil moisture in agricultural areas. Precipitation has declined in the tropics and subtropics since 1970.
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