Studies: The US Southwest faces monsoons and drought because of climate change

This Vice article discusses why megadroughts Are Likely Coming to the US Southwest Within Decades, Scientists Say. Climate change is ‘almost assured’ to cause decades-long droughts in the American Southwest not seen since medieval times, scientists warn in a new study. In medieval times, the US Southwest was routinely struck by decades-long droughts. Those megadroughts stopped around 1600, but climate change could bring them back.

In a study published on Wednesday in Science Advances, researchers from Columbia’s Earth Institute used climate models to study what caused the megadroughts. Using historical climate data, they determined that two things were to blame: changing ocean temperatures and excess energy trapped inside the Earth’s atmosphere (called radiative forcing).

This Yale Environment 360 article discusses how monsoon rains Have become more intense in the U.S. Southwest. Monsoon rains in the U.S. Southwest have increased in intensity by as much as 11 percent since the 1970s, meaning more rain is falling in less time, according to research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The number of these rainstorms has also increased 15 percent in the last half-century.

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