“Climate change strikes again,” said Verum with a worried face, “In the past few months, the world has seen floods in China, India, and Germany and the wildfires in Canada, Turkey, Algeria, and Greece. Now, extremely dry weather in the Western United States (US) has led to drought conditions.”
“What is a drought, Verum?” said Scorch.
“When there is an insufficient amount of rainfall for a long period of time, it is called drought. Droughts cause water shortages and severely impact agriculture,” answered Orak.
“That’s exactly what the US is currently experiencing. This week, the US declared an official water shortage in the massive Lake Mead reservoir for the first time,” said Verum, “Because of this shortage, the proportion of water supplied to certain states will decrease. These include Arizona and Nevada, and the neighboring country, Mexico.”
“I have heard at least 10 western state governors have appealed for federal drought aid,” said Orak, “That is, they are asking for help from the Central Government to cope with the drought.”
“Yes, and California has begun rationing water to farms. In fact, emergency restrictions now prevent farmers and landowners from using water drawn from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta services,” said Verum, “It’s an enormous system of streams and rivers that service nearly two-thirds of the state.”
“That sounds serious,” said Scorch, “But isn’t California used to dry summers?”
“It is, but the dry summers are followed by the rainfall season in November. But the Climate Prediction Center has announced a La Nina warning for this year. It’ll be California’s second La Nina in a row,” said Verum.
She added, “Before you ask, La Nina is a weather pattern. When unusually cold water collects near the Equator in the eastern Pacific, La Nina occurs and steers the storm tract to the north of California. This means California and other Southwestern states don’t receive adequate rainfall.”
“La Nina is one of the causes for this year’s drought,” said Orak, “If the dry weather continues, the soil will become drier and will absorb more water. The running water levels in rivers and streams will further decrease, causing water shortages.”
“Drier climate can also lead to an intense wildfire season,” added Verum, “This whole situation was mentioned in the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.”