In progress Drought The southwestern United States is the worst drought the region has experienced since records management began in 1895, according to a new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Drought Task Force.
The lowest total precipitation on record in the southwest (including Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah) for the 20 months from January 2020 to August 2021 and third . An elevated daily average temperature was observed. “Unprecedented costly crisis, Report says..
The drought interrupts the 20-year drop in precipitation in the southwest, which is “probably natural” and man-made. Climate change Mean temperature Burning highs, The report was found. Together, low rainfall and scorching temperatures have reduced snow cover in the region’s mountains and increased water evaporation from the southwestern soil, resulting in severe and persistent droughts.
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Based on the fall precipitation forecast, the drought is expected to last until 2022, and according to the report, the drought can last quite a long time if there is little precipitation in the region. However, even with natural increases in precipitation over the next few years, anthropogenic climate change still increases the risk of extreme heat. Forest fire, Increases both the likelihood and severity of future droughts, researchers say.
“The warm temperatures that have helped spread this drought so severely and widely will continue (and increase) until climate mitigation is continued and warming trends in the region reverse (and increase),” the team said in their report. wrote. “2020-21 has been an exceptional period of low rainfall, but the drought that has occurred portends a future in which the Southwestern United States must now take steps to manage it. “
Meanwhile, the drought will continue to cause enormous damage to more than 60 million people in the southwest and the countless millions of people who depend on goods and services in the region, according to the report. ..
“The economic losses associated with drought in 2020 alone, excluding losses from associated forest fires, range from approximately $ 515 million to $ 1.3 billion,” the report said. With the addition of wildfires, the cost of this crisis will drop from $ 11.4 billion to $ 23 billion in one year in six states.
Originally published in Live Science.