According to the report, the drought caused roughly $11.4–$23 billion in economic losses in 2020—including impacts from associated wildfires. Economic losses for 2021 will also be substantial, and the drought is expected to continue at least into next year.
For the past two decades, the southwestern United States has been desiccated by one of the most severe long-term droughts—or ‘megadroughts’—of the last 1,200 years. And now, scientists say the risk of similar extreme megadroughts and severe single-year droughts will increase in the future as Earth’s temperature continues to rise, according to a new study in Earth’s Future.
Results show the increasing frequency of these compound extremes is strongly driven by human-caused warming and drying trends.
The study provides insights that could potentially extend the warning lead time of cold extremes in the United States, Canada, and Asia.
Since the Colorado River is the southwest United States’ most important surface water source, the findings have important implications for managing this resource in the face of a warming climate
Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather.
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