SW US Faces Historic Megadrought

    Image copyright: AP [via USA Today]

    The Facts

    • Per a study in Nature Climate Change, the last 22 years in the American Southwest has been the driest period in 1,200 years, with human emissions accounting for 42% of drought severity.

    • The study author asserts this is a worst-case scenario, with conditions expected to deteriorate even further.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    This has the unmistakable fingerprints of climate change. It's extreme, epic and historic. Expect the future to be a wild ride -- we may even see Southern Califorrnia suffer regular heat waves in winter.

    Narrative B

    There's real climate alarmism here. Only 1/5 of the current megadrought can be attributed to human-caused climate change. Analysis referenced in the report shows there's been five other major droughts since 800 AD, so this is mostly natural variation. Unfortunately, climate panic brings paywall clicks for science journals.

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