A critical question in hydrology is the extent to which climate change is affecting changes in rainfall, evapotranspiration and runoff over land and how this might impact human activity. We demonstrate that more than 50 percent of the land surface has experienced robust changes in these hydrological cycle components since 1980. Of particular concern is increasing water-resource stresses in key breadbasket regions, including in Australia, and in some densely populated areas. Using a diverse range of observations, in combination with data assimilation approaches and machine learning, our results support the general conclusion that over land “wet gets wetter but dry does not get drier”.

Hobeichi, S., Abramowitz, G., Ukkola, A.M., De Kauwe, M., Pitman, A., Evans, J.P., Beck, H., 2022. Reconciling historical changes in the hydrological cycle over land. npj Clim Atmos Sci 5, 17. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41612-022-00240-y