Photo courtesy of Evato Elements
From staff reports
Researchers are citing climate change as the reason that the Southwest United States is experiencing warmer temperatures, which is increasing evaporation and leading to soil and vegetation drying out.Coined, “megadrought,” experts from University of California, Los Angeles, NASA and the Columbia Climate School say that this part of the U.S. has not experienced this long of a dry period since the year 800. The current drought has lasted more than two decades now, which is why it is classified as a megadrought. Climate statistics have shown that this drought has lasted longer than a severe drought period that occurred in the late 1500’s. Climate models show that conditions would be dry regardless of human activity, however the researchers are blaming humans for the change in climate. UCLA reports that this activity is responsible for about 42 percent of the soil moisture deficit since the year 2,000. It will take several wet years now to mitigate the effects the megadrought has had on the area from southern Montana to northern Mexico, and from the Pacific Ocean to the Rocky Mountains- the region where the studies have been focused on.