Southwestern USA could be set for its worst drought in 1,000 years because of climate change. Numerous states have experienced severe water shortages, with 64 million people affected. Researchers say things could get worse.
The arid conditions in the southwest of the United States and the Great Plains have been caused by higher temperatures, while ground water supplies are shrinking. Studies by scientists using computer models show that the US could be in for its worst droughts since the 12th and 13th centuries.
“The 21st-century projections make the [previous] mega-droughts seem like quaint walks through the Garden of Eden,” said Jason Smerdon, who was a co-author of the paper, which was published in the journal Science Advances and is also a climate scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.