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Associated Press

Using a combination of satellite imagery, machine learning and land surface supercomputer models, scientists have discovered the factors that determine how long it takes a place to fully recover from a drought. According to a study published today in Nature, post-drought temperatures and ongoing precipitation levels once the rains return heavily influence a region's rebound.

Why it matters: The factors that most determine drought recovery were largely unknown. Now, scientists may be able to better account for how long it takes to bounce back— and the conditions that can lead to more droughts — in climate change models.

Big picture: Both temperature and precipitation factors may shorten the time in between droughts as Earth's climate changes, which could some day irreversibly damage some ecosystems, the researchers concluded. More intense droughts may also be affecting the ability of land to absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere.

Of note: The researchers also found drought impacts gradually worsened throughout the 20th century, and that recovery times lasted longer in the tropics and in Russia, Alaska and other places in the high northern latitudes, potentially putting them at more risk.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

Technical glitch in Facebook's ad tools creates political firestorm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor

Facebook said late Thursday that a mix of "technical problems" and confusion among advertisers around its new political ad ban rules caused issues affecting ad campaigns of both parties.

Why it matters: A report out Thursday morning suggested the ad tools were causing campaign ads, even those that adhered to Facebook's new rules, to be paused. Very quickly, political campaigners began asserting the tech giant was enforcing policies in a way that was biased against their campaigns.

4 hours ago - Health

States beg for Warp Speed billions

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing center yesterday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

Operation Warp Speed has an Achilles' heel: States need billions to distribute vaccines — and many say they don't have the cash.

Why it matters: The first emergency use authorization could come as soon as next month, but vaccines require funding for workers, shipping and handling, and for reserving spaces for vaccination sites.