Megadroughts in the Southwest United States saw water supplies severely reduced and reservoir water levels hit records. It was one of the most severe prolonged dry periods recorded in human history.
A new study published in Nature Climate Change journals shows that the ongoing drought situation is the dryest in 22 years. “persist through 2022”Match the duration of droughts in the later 1500s.
Researchers have determined that the affected area extends from Southern Montana to Northern Mexico, and from the Pacific Ocean up to the Rocky Mountains. Researchers say this is the “largest [southwestern area of North America] to experience a top-five 22-year drought-severity ranking in at least 1,200 years,”The study concluded.
Examining tree ring data going back to 800 AD, the study’s lead researcher, Park Williams from the University of California, identified only four other megadroughts during the period since then.
“We have a society that’s relying on there being the amount of water there was in the 1900s. But now with the number of water molecules available to us declining, it really is time for us to get real about how much water there is for us to use,”Williams spoke to NPR and called for an a “change” “our relationship with water.”
Study found a strong link between prolonged drought and global warming. Researchers used a model which attributed 42% conditions to human-induced change in climate. They fear that this could mean that dry conditions will continue to increase.
Space images from 2021 revealed the effects of drought on reservoirs. Lake Mead had reached the lowest point ever and Lake Powell was severely dehydrated.
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