Southwestern US Headed for 'Extended Megadrought'

Article ID: 574281

Released: 10-Mar-2011 2:45 PM EST

Source Newsroom: Northern Arizona University

  • Valles Caldera, New Mexico, where sediment core samples were extracted for the study.

Newswise — A recent study published in Nature, the prestigious international journal of science, warns of prolonged drought in the Southwestern U.S., a finding with implications for resource management in the region.

The study implies a greater likelihood of major forest fires, tree infestation and loss, prolonged drought lasting hundreds if not thousands of years, and the need for strict water management.

Using sediment deposits from New Mexico’s Valle Caldera as historical record, a team of researchers, including NAU paleoecology and environmental sciences professor R. Scott Anderson, concluded the Southwest is headed toward a megadrought—a period of increasingly arid conditions with disappearing monsoons and a diminishing water supply.


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