Megadrought on Earth affected gravity waves at the edge of space

An intense drought that has persisted on Earth for over two decades is now thought to have affected gravity waves where our planet’s atmosphere meets outer space.

The discovery happened by chance as a region in the southwest US transitioned to drought conditions in 2000. Researchers Chester Gardner of the University of Illinois and Chiao-Yao She of Colorado State University were already keeping an eye on the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere with LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) when they observed a 30% decrease in gravity waves after the Southwestern North American (SWNA) megadrought began.