aspen_banner.jpg
Arizona Public Radio | Your Source for NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

West megadrought worsens to driest in at least 1,200 years

Drought
AP Photo/Josh Edelson, File
/
Water drips from a faucet near boat docks sitting on dry land at the Browns Ravine Cove area of drought-stricken Folsom Lake in Folsom, Calif., on May 22, 2022. The American West's megadrought deepened so much last year that it is now the driest it has been in at least 1200 years and a worst-case scenario playing out live, a new study finds.

The megadrought bedeviling the American West got even drier last year and is becoming the deepest dry spell in more than 1,200 years.

Monday's study says the megadrought is now the worst-case scenario officials and scientists worried about in the 1900s.

The drought deepened so much in 2021 that it is 5% worse than the old record in the late 1500s.

Scientists compare this megadrought to what would happen in a hypothetical world without human-caused climate change.

And they calculate that 42% of this drought is due to global warming from the burning of fossil fuels.