Despite climate change still being a subject of denial for 40% of our fellow citizens, it’s quite hard to claim that recent years haven’t brought on more heat. More and more regions are suffering from droughts and increased heat levels, with even the Arctic showing record low levels of ice. But closer to home, according to a study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, droughts may become the norm in Southwestern United States.
What does the data show?
According to the study published by the team led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), a normal year in the Southwest in recent years is quantifiably warmer and drier than it once was. The American Southwest has shifted to a far drier climate, and the overall levels of precipitation are on a downward trend.
The study looked at weather patterns from 1979 to 2014, concluding that the dry pattern will not only continue into the future, but it will most likely exacerbate.
In order to gather the information, the team looked at the levels of the daily sea pressure, wind speeds, and atmospheric water depth from the last 35 years. The US was divided into five regions – Northeast, Northwest, South, Southwest, as well as Midwest – and precipitation levels were gauged for all areas.
As it turns out, the regions most affected were those relying on only a few specific weather types, like the Southwest. It was also revealed that the weather patterns responsible for over two thirds of the Southwest precipitations decreased drastically.
What does that imply?
The researchers say that because of the increasingly evident effects of climate change and weather patterns observed in the area, not even major storms will have too big of an effect on the droughts that will become the norm for the Southwest.
Despite California already having extended its water conservation efforts through the fall, the number of reported water thefts has drastically increased, with even Magnum P.I. himself, Tom Selleck, being charged with stealing the state’s water after being ironically followed by a private investigator as he was filling his tanker up with water from a hydrant.
With the experts hoping that the intense rain and snowfall will perhaps do something for the increasingly droughty Southwest despite not actually thinking that it will, the effects of El Niño on the region’s weather patterns haven’t even been determined yet.
New changes will have to be done to the region’s infrastructure, with state officials in the area determined to approach water resource managers for advice on how to best do this.
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