Of course, drought has always been a fact of Western life. But with the specter of climate change hanging over every extreme weather event these days, this year's drought, and the dry years that have preceded it, have people wondering: Is this normal? Is this the new normal?
So for this edition of West of 100, we're going to take a look at droughts past, present and future. We're venturing a little out of HCN's normal territory, to West Texas, which shares some climatic similarities with the Southwest, and was similarly crushed by the 1950s drought. We'll hear an oral history of the 1950s drought in West Texas, part of the series "Life By The Drop," a joint reporting project of KUT and Texas Monthly. And we'll talk with Christopher Schwalm, lead author of a recent Nature Geoscience study analyzing the 2000 to 2004 drought in the American West and looking at where it sits along the spectrum of potential drier futures projected by global climate models. Spoiler: It ain't good.
Dripping water sound, courtesy of mich3d, licensed under Creative Commons.
Image courtesy of Flickr user ntxpeach68, licensed under Creative Commons.