The floods in Missouri and Kentucky this week were both caused by extreme rainfall. Climate change is making such rain more common, and driving dangerous floods across much of the U.S.
ASMA KHALID, HOST:
Climate change is making these types of disasters more and more common. I spoke with Rebecca Hersher from NPR’s climate team, and she explained why destructive flooding is happening far from the coastlines.
REBECCA HERSHER, BYLINE: There are many ways that climate change can cause floods. Coastal floods get a lot of attention, especially when they happen during a hurricane. But actually, inland flooding is more common. And the kind of devastating heavy rain that we’ve seen this week is something that climate scientists have predicted for many decades – that, as humans keep burning fossil fuels, the atmosphere gets hotter, the air holds more moisture and so, when it rains, it rains harder.
KHALID: And has that turned out to be true?
HERSHER: Yeah, the climate models are correct. And actually scientists can observe it in real time now, which is pretty scary. So heavy rain has increased all over the U.S. And in the southeastern U.S., including in Kentu …