Is the Drought in the US Southwest becoming Permanent?

(By Bobby Magill)

The drought that has been afflicting most of the Western states for the past 13 years may be a “megadrought,” and the likelihood is high that this century could see a multi-decade dry spell…
Is the West’s Dry Spell Really a Megadrought? (via Climate Central)

By Bobby Magill Follow @bobbymagill SAN FRANCISCO —  The drought that has been afflicting most of the Western states for the past 13 years may be a “megadrought,” and the likelihood is high that this century could see a multi-decade dry spell…



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Related video:

Reuters interviewed Alex Prud’Homme on this issue a couple of years ago, and the segment is still urgent:

4 Responses

  1. JB right I live out in Ag world near Tracy, Calif. we don’t get much rain here to start with but have received only 1.5 inches this yr. There’s nothing showing rain in the next few weeks. The farmers here have already been told to expect 25% less water than last yr. They’re afraid to plant winter wheat do to no rain or water.

  2. The conservative approach would be to assume the worst and to plan accordingly. Composting toilets, worm composting, and bokashi composting help to reduce water consumption and build up soils. A very aggressive campaign to increase the amount of vegetation, especially trees. Restrictions on grass lawns and other water-hogs. Low-flow showerheads and toilets. You get the idea.

    I live in Oregon and people often say that it’s so green here because it rains. It’s probably more correct to say that it rains here because it’s green. Vegetation creates the conditions that encourage rainfall. When I was in college (forestry), I read that as much water passes over Arizona in a single week as flows down the Mississippi(?) in a year. (It’s been a while, but it was a major river.) In Arizona, so much heat is reflected back into the atmosphere that the condensation point of water vapor is never reached. Consequently, all that water vapor is carried over the state, to be deposited elsewhere.

    In 1910, it was estimated that 10% of the Earth’s surfact was desert. In 1980, the estimate was 25%. I’d bet real money that the situation hasn’t improved since 1980. Over-grazing and over-logging are the culprits and these conditions are also present in the American West.

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