Ancient Droughts Choked Southwest for 1000s of Years. Will They Return?

"Great Basin Caves tell a story linking climate change to a “worst-case scenario,” with potential impact on 56 million western water users."

"The ancient people of Danger Cave lived well. They ate freshwater fish, ducks and other small game, according to detritus they left behind. They had a lush lakeside view, with cattails, bulrush and water-loving willows adorning the marshlands.

But then, the good life became history. As heat and drought set in, the freshwater dried up and forced the ancients to survive by plucking tiny seeds from desert shrubs called pickleweed. Archaeologists know this from a thick layer of dusty chaff buried in the cave's floor.

It might be ancient history. But the past could also become the future, science tells us. In fact, thanks to global warming, regional climate patterns linked to extended periods of heat and drought that upended prehistoric life across the Southwest thousands of years ago are setting up again now."

Judy Fahys reports for InsideClimate News November 30, 2020.

Source: InsideClimate News, 12/01/2020