Warming of hot extremes alleviated by expanding irrigation

Date Published 2020, January 15

Authors Wim Thiery, Auke J. Wisser, Eric M. Fischer, Mathias Hauser, Annette L. Hirsch, David M. Lawrence, Quentin Lejeune, Edouard L. Davin, Sonia I. Seneviratne

Journal Nature Communications
11/290 (2020), https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-14075-4

This study examines the effects of expanded irrigation on climate conditions around the world, specifically in comparison to other anthropogenic forces. It finds that irrigation can regionally cancel the effects of these anthropogenic forces in the face of increasing temperatures from global warming. The study further finds that approximately one billion people currently benefit from irrigation’s ability to dampen the increase of hot extremes, though it is uncertain whether this benefit will continue in the future.