By Elizabeth Zach, staff writer

As the planet warms, meteorologists find it harder to predict weather patterns. But wildly fluctuating temperatures also challenge how water system managers do their jobs. Unpredictable changes in weather affect storm preparedness and even national security.

“We might be wandering into an area where history might be a bystander,” Mike Anderson, California’s state climatologist told Bloomberg News. “That gets a little scary because history’s here to provide context.”

The state suffered through six years of drought which impacted agricultural irrigation. Then in 2017, northern California experienced nearly double the normal rainfall, surpassing a 1983 record.

On a global scale, too, water scarcity or overabundance has led to national security concerns.

“Hydrological extremes — floods and droughts — are the most dangerous aspects of global warming because they lead to food and water shortages and that can lead to armed conflict,” Kerry Emanuel, an atmospheric science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, told Bloomberg.

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