Western U.S. Megadrought


**How Bad Is the Western Drought? Worst in 12 Centuries, Study Finds.**

**Fueled by climate change, the drought that started in 2000 is now the driest two decades since 800 A.D.**
**By Henry Fountain, The New York Times, Feb. 14, 2022**

**ALBUQUERQUE — The megadrought in the American Southwest has become so severe that it’s now the driest two decades in the region in at least 1,200 years, scientists said Monday, and climate change is largely responsible.**

**The drought, which began in 2000 and has reduced water supplies, devastated farmers and ranchers and helped fuel wildfires across the region, had previously been considered the worst in 500 years, according to the researchers. But exceptional conditions in the summer of 2021, when about two-thirds of the West was in extreme drought, “really pushed it over the top...”**

**Several previous megadroughts in the 1,200-year record lasted as long as 30 years, according to the researchers. Their analysis concluded that it is likely that the current 22-year drought will last that long. ...** [end quote]

A widespread megadrought has Macroeconomic impact. Agriculture and meat production suffers so food prices rise. Reduced reservoirs and snow pack threatens the drinking water of desert cities. Wildfires have destroyed thousands of homes and killed many people, in urbanized areas as well as in the back woods. Insurance costs are rising fast.

Even though western Washington State is known for its wet climate, we are still dependent on snow pack and ground water for our dry summers.

The Climate Prediction Center maps are scary for huge areas of the west. Some areas in East Texas and Louisiana may get relief but other areas will have worsening drought.

The megadrought will worsen inflation and threaten lives and property.


The opening to the California rainy-snowy season started out well in December. We were getting storm systems moving through every few days. Hopes were raised that there might be some temporary relief to the current dry spell. But then it stopped raining. No appreciable rain/snow in January or so far in February. This is shown in the following link.


The snow pack water content has been flat since the beginning of the year. There is still time to make some recovery, if California gets some more weather like we did in December. But right now, the weather forecast isn’t looking promising.

  • Pete

Fueled by climate change, the drought that started in 2000 is now the driest two decades since 800 A.D.

Since ‘climate change’ can’t fight back it’s become a favorite punching bag…

The Captain

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The Drought Monitor website map shows that part of eastern Washington is currently in ‘extreme drought’ (red color).

At the same time, NASA provides a map from satellite data that shows the soil moisture across the country.
The same ‘extreme drought’ area of eastern Washington has measured soil moisture that is normal, in the 30-70th percentile range.

The two do not seem compatible.


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The two do not seem compatible.


Then there is this one?


Glad I don’t live in the Dark Red areas? Life with limited clean water supplies is very inconvenient for the residents. Even in Germany we were encouraged to take quick showers as fresh water was expensive.


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I live smack dab in the middle of the American southwest and let me tell you the drought conditions are severe. And that’s not just anecdotally but statistically true. This is what the climate models have predicted for some time now.


The two do not seem compatible.


One small area of the Drought Monitor map is red in South-Eastern WA while not so on the soil moisture map. Is that important? Are they measuring the same parameters?

There are many areas with such differences between the two maps for whole country.