15 January, 2020

Warming of hot extremes alleviated by expanding irrigation


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

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.

Here we provide observational and model evidence that expanding irrigation has dampened historical anthropogenic warming during hot days, with particularly strong effects over South Asia.