While storms, flooding and other extreme weather events occur, scientists around the world show that the water cycle has been intensifying and will continue to intensify as the planet warms.

The international climate assessment I coauthored in 2021 for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change already reported an increase in both wet extremes, including more intense rainfall over most regions, and dry extremes. Warming temperatures raise the upper limit are intensifying the water cycle, increasing the potential for more rain. Water cycles through the environment, moving between the atmosphere, ocean, land and reservoirs of frozen water.

It might fall as rain or snow, seep into the ground, run into a waterway, join the ocean, freeze or evaporate back into the atmosphere. Plants also take up water from the ground and release it through transpiration from their leaves. In recent decades, there has been an overall increase in the rates of precipitation and evaporation. Read more info here.