The major drought that devastated southwestern parts of the United States and parts of Mexico in the last two decades is the worst the region has experienced in at least 1.200 years, says the survey, which analyzed an area stretching from southern Montana to northern Mexico and from the Pacific to the Rocky Mountains.
Last summer, two of North America’s largest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, hit record lows for more than a century.
Without anthropogenic climate change, the turn-of-the-century drought would not be on the way to a mega-wave,”wrote lead author Park Williams, an associate professor at the University of California in Los Angeles and colleagues.
Over the past decade, California and other Western states have experienced severe water scarcity, which caused periodic restrictions on water utilization and forced some communities to import bottled water to drink.
Occasional heavy snowfall or precipitation was not sufficient to offset this.
By February 10, 95 percent of the western U.S. was drenched, according to the U.S. government’s Drought Monitor.