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“Are you ready for a 35-year drought?”

That was the headline this morning on a Yahoo News story about the California drought.  A new study coming out in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate indicates that the possibility of a decade-long drought in the Southwest could be as high as 90 percent, and there is even a 50 percent probability of a 35-year drought in the same area.  This study incorporated known lengthy droughts from California and the Southwest from 900 to 1400 AD into climate models looking at projections of future climate.

The current drought is in year 5, and has resulted in reservoirs dropping by 70 percent of the pre-drought levels as well as rapid depletion of groundwater, which may have contributed in part to the legislation passed there this week to regulate groundwater withdrawals (read that story here).  The Yahoo News story did not list impacts on the Southeast, so I will be interested to view the full study once it becomes available online.  However, the story did note that impacts will not be the same everywhere, and that the Pacific Northwest may see fewer droughts.  One scenario for the increase in drought in California is for more agricultural production to move back to the Southeastern US, although moving it to other countries with appropriate climates is also a possibility.  You can read the Yahoo News story by clicking here.