From KUNC (Luke Runyon):
A new study from NASA reinforces the idea that droughts are getting worse and could become more frequent in the Western U.S.
The culprit is human-caused climate change.
Droughts aren’t just about precipitation, says NASA scientist and the study’s co-author Benjamin Cook. They’re also about the timing of snowmelt and the wetness of soil, both of which are upended by a warming climate…
“We have pretty clear evidence now that climate change has already begun to make droughts worse or more likely in at least some regions,” he says. “So it’s a now problem, not a future problem.”
Definitions of drought vary. A meteorological drought happens when snow and rain are diminished. An agricultural drought is tied to soil moisture and can be influenced by the type of soil and the crops and vegetation grown. A hydrological drought refers to lessened runoff from snow, which in turn means less water ending up in surface reservoirs.
Nowadays you have to include the “hot drought” and “aridification” in your calculus. Read this publication from the Colorado River Research Group, “When is drought not a drought? Drought, aridification, and the “new normal.”