The severe drought that has ravaged southwestern North America for the past 20 years is the worst in 1,200 years. A study published yesterday shows that the phenomenon exacerbated by climate change is likely to continue in 2022. In the western States and northern Mexico, there has been an extreme drought since 2000, lasting more than 20 years, so it can be also called “mega drought”. – After the extremely severe droughts in 2021, which in about 19 percent is attributed to climate change caused by man-made, the period from 2000 to 2021 is the driest in at least 800 years, scientists say in the journal. Nature Climate Change.
Due to high temperatures and low rainfall, from the summer of 2020 until the same period in 2021, the mega drought is worse than it was in the late 1500s and was the worst in the last 1,200 years, the UCLA University in Los Angeles said in a statement. .
Since 2000, the lack of moisture in the country is twice as great as for any drought in the 20th century.
In addition, such a drought “is likely to continue in 2022, and in duration will equate to the mega drought of the late 1500s,” the study estimates.
Even if it rains, the effects of this area, which stretches from southern Montana to northern Mexico, from the Pacific Ocean to the Rocky Mountains, can be lasting.
“It’s unlikely that the drought will stop after a rainy year,” said lead author Park Williams, a UCLA geographer.
According to the study, human-related climate change, which has caused heatstroke to become more frequent and disrupt rainfall, is responsible for 42 percent of the country’s moisture shortages between 2000 and 2021 in the area, as well as 19 percent in 2021.
A chronic drought in the western United States prompted the federal government in August 2021, for the first time in history, to start saving water from Lake Mead, the country’s largest reservoir built on the Colorado River.