#Megadrought in the west expected to continue through the summer — The Ark Valley Voice #drought #aridification #ArkansasRiver

West Drought Monitor map February 15, 2022.

Click the link to read the article on Ark Valley Voice (Jan Wondra):

A megadrought is defined as a drought lasting two decades or longer. According to Climate Scientist Jason Smerdon, co-author of a drought study by the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, not only do they give us a 94 percent certainty that this mega-drought will continue, they say we could face years of continued drought.

Smerdon gives us a 75 percent chance that the megadrought will continue through 2029.

In fact, University of California Los Angeles geographer Park Williams, the study’s lead author, said with dry conditions likely to persist, it would take multiple wet years to remediate the effects. “It’s extremely unlikely that this drought can be ended in one wet year,” he said.

As we in Chaffee County and surrounding counties know from the past couple of years, as spring arrives, the snowpack is just soaking into the parched earth, rather than running off into streams and rivers. This doesn’t bode well for the four major rivers that originate in the Colorado Rockies; the Colorado, the Platte, the Arkansas, and the Rio Grande, and the reservoir systems and hydroelectric plants they serve…

By analyzing tree rings, the scientists observed that periods of severe drought are marked by high degrees of soil moisture deficit; this is the moisture variance from normal saturation.

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