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Publication Date
14 February 2022

Rapid intensification of the emerging southwestern North American megadrought in 2020–2021



A previous reconstruction back to 800 CE indicated that the 2000–2018 soil moisture deficit in southwestern North America was exceeded during one megadrought in the late-1500s. Here, we show that after exceptional drought severity in 2021, ~19% of which is attributable to anthropogenic climate trends, 2000–2021 was the driest 22-yr period since at least 800. This drought will very likely persist through 2022, matching the duration of the late-1500s megadrought.

Williams, A. P., B. I. Cook, and J. E. Smerdon. 2022. “Rapid Intensification Of The Emerging Southwestern North American Megadrought In 2020–2021”. Nature Climate Change 12: 232-234. doi:10.1038/s41558-022-01290-z.
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