Extreme Heat, Drought Will Permanently Scar California and Its Social Fabric

Unprecedented dryness across the western United States is meeting with increasingly warm temperatures to create climate conditions so extreme that the landscape of California could permanently and profoundly change, a growing number of scientists say.

The Golden State’s great drying has already begun to reduce snowpack, worsen wildfires and dry out soils, and researchers say that trend will likely continue, along with the widespread loss of trees and other significant shifts.

La Niña Responsible for Megadroughts in North and South America, Study Finds

La Niña, the climate event that causes water to be colder than normal in the eastern Pacific, has now been shown by new research released Monday to be responsible for simultaneous megadroughts in the North and South American Southwest over the past 1,000 years.

Megadroughts are extended periods of drought that last at least 20 years. In a study published in the journal Nature, researchers found that these megadroughts occurred simultaneously in the North American and South American Southwest “regularly” and often during a La Niña event.