Megadrought

Study: Warming Pushes Western US Toward Driest Period in 1,000 Years

During the second half of the 21st century, the U.S. Southwest and Great Plains will face unprecedented, persistent drought worse than anything seen in times ancient or modern, with the drying conditions driven primarily by human-induced global warming. The finding were part of a new study, "Unprecedented 21st-Century Drought Risk in the American Southwest and Central Plains," featured in the inaugural edition of the new online journal Science Advances, produced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which also publishes the leading journal Science. The research indicated that the drying would surpass in severity any of the decades-long mega-droughts that occurred much earlier during the past 1,000 years--one of which has been tied by some researchers to the decline of the Anasazi or Ancient Pueblo Peoples in the Colorado Plateau in the late 13th century. Many studies have already predicted that the Southwest could dry due to global warming, but this is the first to say that such drying could exceed the worst conditions of the distant past. "The 21st century projections make the mega-droughts seem like quaint walks through the Garden of Eden," said Jason Smerdon, a co-author and climate scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, part of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.


March 30, 2015--What severe drought in the Colorado River Basin looks like (Washington Post)

Lake Powell, one of the nation’s largest reservoirs, is now below 45 percent of its capacity. Straddling the border between Utah and Arizona, the man-made reservoir is part of the Colorado Water Basin that supplies water to 40 million people.


March 9, 2015--Can climate action plans combat megadrought and save the Colorado River? (Eco Watch)

Two of the largest reservoirs in the U.S.—Lakes Mead and Powell along the Colorado River—continue to lose water and are now less than half full with no prediction that the trend will change direction. The U.S.


March 1, 2015--Talented people are competing for $100,000 to help solve an intractable problem (Arizona Central)

The drought is deepening across the Western United States and our lifeline has grown more tenuous. The Colorado River that feeds Arizona and her neighboring states may not be a reliable supplier of water if today's dry conditions persist.


February 24, 2015--Will Utah be ready for a drier, hotter climate? (Salt Lake Tribune)

The specter of drought hanging over the Southwest is already pretty dire, with forests drying out into beetle-killed tinderboxes and reservoir levels plunging. But the current dry spell may barely register in comparison with what has happened in the distant past and could happen in the near future, according to research released this month. And we may have ourselves to blame.


February 18, 2015--California water becomes scarce and energy hungry (Climate Central)

In drought-stricken California, ensuring water flows from faucets is nearly as much about energy as it is about the water’s source. Water needs more than gravity to flow from its sources, often hundreds of miles away.


February 12, 2015--Warming pushes Western US toward driest period in 1,000 years: Unprecedented risk of drought in 21st Century (Science Daily)

During the second half of the 21st century, the U.S. Southwest and Great Plains will face persistent drought worse than anything seen in times ancient or modern, with the drying conditions "driven primarily" by human-induced global warming, a new study predicts.


February 6, 2015--Plants tricked into tolerating drought (Nature World News)

In a new breakthrough study, scientists have successfully tricked plants into tolerating drought and given vegetation across the globe hope of survival amidst the world's ever-changing climate.


Mega-Drought!?

The 15-year drought across most of the Western U.S. is what bioclimatologist Park Williams indicated is notable because "more area in the West has persistently been in drought during the past 15 years than in any other 15-year period since the 1150s and 1160s" — that's more than 850 years ago. 


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