Study Highlights Severity of Southwest’s Megadrought

Research led by UCLA and published in the journal Nature Climate Change reveals that the 22-year megadrought gripping the American Southwest is the driest since at least the year 800. Models show that climate change is adding to the severity of the drought with higher temperatures that increase evaporation. This effect turns a dry period into the most extreme dry period in more than 1,200 years. Scientists say that one wet year will not be enough to turn around drought conditions, and they advise long-term conservation strategies to ensure that water will be available in the future, as climate change continues to exacerbate droughts.