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Part of the Climate Change exhibition.
As temperature rises, more water evaporates from the ocean, transferring energy and water vapor to the atmosphere. That extra water vapor results in more rain and snow. Areas that are typically rainy will likely experience intense down pours. But areas that are typically dry will likely become more parched.
In 2006, after two weeks of heavy rainfall, a mammoth landslide smothered the entire Philippine village of Guinsangon. More than 1,100 people perished. Rainfall amounts—68 centimeters (27 inches)—were twice as high as normal. While many events can cause landslides, scientists think this one was triggered by intense rain.
The fertile soil of river valleys attracts large populations in many parts of the world, so despite dams and levees, flooding may be disastrous. After torrential rains in 1998, several rivers in China—especially the Yangtze—flooded their banks, swamping over 250,000 square kilometers (96,500 square miles) of farmland. That's an area nearly twice the size of Pennsylvania, under water. Fourteen million people were left homeless, and damages totaled more than $20 billion.