Educational Tools


Climate & Water


Climate Changes are about more than just data. Ongoing, and global, they destabilize our weather patterns. Such disruptions cause or intensify natural disasters including more intense storms, droughts, floods, heat waves and polar vortexes. Such extreme climate changes and unusual weather patterns affect water availability, quality and usage. In turn, those changes affect all human activities and all other species in all watersheds. This is an important aspect of NWNL’s documentation. The graphics below are science-based depictions of our planet’s climate changes.

Spiralling global temperatures by Ed Hawkins, 2016 (0:26).

NWNL Comment: Recent prolonged droughts, raging wildfires, intense heat spells, and increasingly strong storms are subjects NWNL documents as they threaten the availablity and quality of our freshwater supplies. Higher temperatures in N. American and African watersheds – and across the globe – are in direct correlation with these destructive events. These animations published by Washington Post and Bloomberg News very clearly graph the planet’s warming from 1880 through 2015.

Current drought map of the U.S.

The current U.S. drought map. View full-size.

The Drought Monitor Map Archive offers views by state and date, comparisons and animations, and much more about drought conditions.

The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC-UNL.

More info about U.S. Drought Monitor

Calif. drought 2016-2017

Left: Heavy rain and snow in February and March 2017 had a dramatic effect on California’s drought conditions. Map courtesy of NDMC-UNL. View full-size.

Current California drought map on U.S. Drought Monitor’s website.