Leading scientists explain how climate change is worsening California's epic drought

Source(s): Center for American Progress Action Fund
by Ken Ichi CC BY-NC 2.0 http://www.flickr.com/photos/ken-ichi/12058904816/sizes/s/in/photostream/
by Ken Ichi CC BY-NC 2.0 http://www.flickr.com/photos/ken-ichi/12058904816/sizes/s/in/photostream/

Scientists have long predicted that climate change would bring on ever-worsening droughts, especially in semi-arid regions like the U.S. Southwest. As climatologist James Hansen, who co-authored one of the earliest studies on this subject back in 1990, told Joe Romm, Fellow at American Progress and is the Founding Editor of Climate Progress this week, “Increasingly intense droughts in California, all of the Southwest, and even into the Midwest have everything to do with human-made climate change.”

Hansen warned in the NY Times back in 2012 that “over the next several decades, the Western United States and the semi-arid region from North Dakota to Texas will develop semi-permanent drought… California’s Central Valley could no longer be irrigated. Food prices would rise to unprecedented levels.”

Hansen repeated those concerns in an email to me this week, noting that the current drought “will break, of course, likely with the upcoming El Nino, but as long as we keep increasing greenhouse gases, intense droughts will increase, especially in the Southwest. Rainfall, when and where it comes will tend to be in more intense events, with more extreme flooding. These are not speculations, the science is clear," reports Joe Romm in his opinion piece on the pages of Think Progress.


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