. The amount of precipitation falling each month in any given location direct impacts on the local economy, livelihoods, and life. Farmers and gardeners depend on rain and other forms of precipitation to grow their crops and plants. Precipitation replenishes irrigation and water supply sources such as rivers and mountain snowpack. Water managers work to ensure that communities have enough water for drinking, washing, and industrial uses, and monitor precipitation. Too much precipitation (leading to floods) or too little (leading to drought) threatens public safety and damages community infrastructure.
Adapted from the 2014 BAMS State of the Climate report, the map shows precipitation across the globe in 2014 compared to the 1988-2010 average. The map shows areas with below-average precipitation (brown) and above-average precipitation (green) in 2014. When taken as a whole, precipitation over land was generally below average, while precipitation over the oceans was above average.
Patterns on the map partially reflect the impact of the developing El Niño-like conditions on different places, including drier conditions in the Maritime Continent (Southeast Asia) and wetter conditions along the equatorial Pacific. Southeastern North America, eastern Europe, northeastern South America, central Africa, much of southeast Asia, and eastern Australia were drier than usual. Compared to 2013, however, dry conditions over western North America, northern Eurasia, and southern Africa became less extreme. Above-average precipitation fell over southern Europe and central South America, with the exception of Brazil. The country experienced strikingprecipitation deficits in its highly populated southeastern region that includes São Paulo—the largest city in Brazil—and the state of Minas Gerais, where much of the country’s reservoirs are located.
What started in 1990 as a small technical report has since grown to a seven-chapter, peer-reviewed “annual physical” of the climate system. Topics range from global average temperature to permafrost depth to ocean salinity to the upper atmosphere. In 2014, the effort involved 413 authors from 58 countries.