Second worst drought in 1200 years coming to southwestern U.S.

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Second worst drought in 1200 years coming to southwestern U.S.

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Greenhouse gas emissions push droughts to staggering proportions in southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico

As the southwestern United States and northern Mexico approach their 20th year of worsening drought conditions, scientists fear these regions are headed toward a massive mega-drought the likes of which have been seen only four times in the last 1200 years.

A recent study in Science compares current soil-moisture values with those of the previous four mega-droughts, finding that the current conditions are already even drier than the first three, making this the second-worst drought since 800 A.D. Global warming seems to have played a role, the study suggests. Using climate modeling, lead author Park Williams and his team found that although the affected areas were already headed toward a moderate drought this century, it was greenhouse gas emissions and the related rise in global temperatures that propelled the drought to mega proportions.

Written by

Jyotika Bindra

Jyotika is a writer based in New Delhi. Prior to Climate & Capital Media, she was the fashion manager at her family’s bespoke fashion business, where in addition to her other responsibilities she worked on improving textile sourcing from local artisans to encourage grassroots production, as well as conducting sustainability workshops with employees regarding the eco-friendly disposal of fashion materials. Previously, she worked as a lab manager at a Harvard University Psychology Lab.