Texas Rains in Keeping with Climate Change

Statement by Brenda Ekwurzel, senior climate scientist

Published May 26, 2015

WASHINGTON (May 26, 2015)—Texans are being hit hard by record-setting rains, which, like the state’s five-year drought, are in keeping with the changes that global warming is bringing.

Below is a statement by Brenda Ekwurzel, senior climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Around the world, April ocean temperatures have broken records. The Gulf is no exception. The hot Gulf waters combined with a brewing El Nino have contributed to some of the intense precipitation in Texas and beyond.  

“In addition, because a warmer atmosphere holds more water, climate change means that when it rains it’s more likely to pour. In Texas, the heaviest rainfalls have increased more than 16 percent over the long-term average. This trend will only increase as temperatures rise even more.

“Hot Gulf temperatures, a warmer atmosphere and El Nino can be a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, Texans may be in store for more such heavy rains this season.” 


An El Nino is brewing in the Pacific with the whopping hot sea surface temperatures.  According to historical patterns, El Nino’s are associated with more precipitation in TX, OK, AR, LA and the southeast during the March to May period.

 With climate change, the heaviest rains in the US have gotten heavier.