It's now apparent that the water cycle rate has already increased 4% between 1950 and 2000, twice the rate predicted by models. Hence our recent epic droughts, wildfires, and floods.
...the rate of intensification of the global water cycle is happening far faster than imagined: at about 8 percent per degree Celsius of ocean warming since 1950.
At this rate, the authors calculate:
- The global water cycle will intensify by a whopping 16 percent in a 2°C warmer world
- The global water cycle will intensify by a frightening 24 percent in a 3°C warmer world
The changes will not be uniform across the globe, but trend toward increased drying of arid areas and increased flooding of wet areas.
And the resulting changes in freshwater availability are likely to be far more destabilizing to human societies and ecosystems than warming alone.
This story is available in many sources, but I like the Mother Jones summary because it's concise and has helpful images.