The last time drought conditions were this bad in the Mountain West, there still wasn’t a modern country named France.  Emperor Charlemagne ruled over a vast portion of Western Europe.  The Mayans and Aztecs were forming civilizations.  The mythical King Arthur supposedly reigned in what is today Southern England.   National Geographic reports we’re experiencing the worst drought in 1,200 years.  It’s expected to continue for the remainder of this decade.  Major droughts run in 30-year cycles.  The current dry spell is 22-years-old.

Man-Made Climate Change to Blame?

What makes it the most severe in more than a millennium?  Go look in the mirror.  Humans and human activity are responsible for making the current dry spell 42 percent worse than it would’ve been otherwise.  That’s the claim from the scientists who did research by examining tree rings.  There have been longer droughts and drier years but our current combination makes it the worst since roughly 800 A.D.  Over the last couple of summers, we have witnessed much difficulty as ground moisture has been greatly reduced.

No Telling When it Ends

We should note, the 30-year drought cycle is an average.  Some end in less than three decades, however.  Scientists believe an end won’t immediately restore soil health.  The dryness is so acute that recovery could take several years.

High-Tech Solutions

Meanwhile, in a post from last year, I argued we need to consider piping water from the Great Lakes to the dry west.  Some environmentalists responded in anger.  Another fellow said it would be impossible to pipe water over mountains (it’s not).  Unlike 1,200 years ago, technology could be put to use and ease spells of drought.  Tens of millions of people depend on water as well as tens of millions of livelihoods.

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