What we’ve suspected about the West’s “megadrought” has been confirmed: we’re shifting into unprecedented times unseen in hundreds of years, and climate change is to blame.
According to a recent analysis from climate scientists at UCLA, the past two decades have been the driest on record since at least 800 AD, 1,200 years ago. By utilizing tree ring data to gauge previous drought periods and their environmental causes, they further concluded that while the West would have experienced drier weather, the severity of this 22-year megadrought would have only been 60% of the current conditions.
These past two decades of drought have had far-reaching consequences. Water supplies have been severely reduced, farmers and ranchers have been devastated, and the conditions for catastrophic wildfires have been fueled. And despite monsoon storms and patches of rainfall, the scientists at UCLA say that we’re not out of the woods yet. Scientists predict this drought could last until 2030. And the rate of negative impacts from a drier, hotter climate is only expected to accelerate as climate change worsens as we reach environmental tipping points.
That’s why we need more SEEC members in Congress who will continue to press for more funding to support the level of federal government-driven action required to address the worst effects of climate change fully.