"We're definitely looking at a hotter future," Katrina Bennett, hydrologist with the lab and lead author of the study, told CNN. "There will be more of that wet to dry sort of scenarios we're seeing, but regardless, we're going to see more minimum streamflow, increase in drier soils and lower snowpacks, which all together will lead to likelihood of drought increasing across the board especially in the upper areas where we really haven't seen that intense drought stress yet."
Yes, Yellowstone's flooding is bad.
But I was just out that way. What I saw was.... astounding.
On the western side of the Teton pass headed to Idaho Falls the road more-or-less follows the Snake River as it meanders around. I was stunned by what I saw -- houses upon houses all built in what was obvious flood plain. The land was close to the river, flat and part of the historical flood boundary, which is clear if you just look at it from a slightly-elevated vantage point (the road); you need no special training or education to see it. That land is quite-fertile for the same reason the land around the Mississippi River is -- it gets flooded periodically and that refreshes the soil.
The older housing stock and older commercial construction was safely away from that -- above it, and on clear land above the flood-space ridge. The people who built those places knew how to look at the land and say "uh, that would be nice to have a house right on the river but if we're stupid enough to do that it will either be flushed downstream eventually or we'll have 2' of nasty, muddy water in our living room."
Oh, you say, but its so awful further south? Oh c'mon -- quit the bullshit.
"Globull Warming" has caused their snow deposition to drop eh? Really? Their long-term average is 400 inches a year of snow. Yeah, that's a lot of snow. But what was it this year? 385". Statistically-speaking, right on the money.
Fresh water that falls from the sky is not an inexhaustible resource. Yes, it will be replenished. But if you draw it faster than it comes down from the sky over time you will run out. California has quadrupled in population since 1950, roughly. Nevada has had its population explode by a factor of roughly 20 over the same period of time. Arizona had about 750,000 residents in 1950 and today sports over 7.5 million, an expansion of about ten times.
Hoover Dam was completed in 1936 and the snowfall and land area from which Lake Mead collects water has not increased by one square foot since, obviously, while the number of people who think they can just come out there and draw on an inexhaustible resource has skyrocketed.
Folks this is not "climate change", its people overwhelming a fixed resource. No small part of those people are illegal immigrants and the spawn they dropped out after coming here too, so our policy of "open door anywhere, come and rape our land" is and has been for decades bringing ruin.
The southwest is full of desert. Drive around out there and you will see all manner of scrub and other material that is characteristic of land that sometimes receives rainfall but on an infrequent and relatively dispersed basis. The vegetation in an area tells you what you're dealing with when it comes to the long-term rainfall patterns and how much water you can realistically extract from same without running into depletion problems. Simply put when you toss 10 or 20x as many people on a given area of land without concern for such things you're asking to get it up the ass, and now those people who did that are.
We issue building permits to corporations that put up this and that without a single care in the world about forcing them to fund the development of resources necessary for said people that they will then sell same to -- and nobody gets prosecuted for fraud either, as they damn well should building at a capacity they know is well beyond the carrying capacity of the land.
I'm not talking about the ongoing maintenance and upkeep cost; that's paid for by user fees and property taxes -- no, the capital cost to increase capacity is never assessed in impact fees and the screaming is always that "if we did that they'd go somewhere else."
Good! Let them ruin someone else's part of the country!
I fought this repeatedly when I lived in the Panhandle and always lost, but refused to shut up about it regardless. You want to put up another condo? Fine. Pay an impact fee that covers the increased road capacity construction and utility build-out necessary to serve the people who come when you're done, and do it up front. No? GTFO.
That is where the entire problem lies.
If Nevada, Arizona and California had decided (one or all) to force the payment of impact fees to fund the construction of desalination plants for said residential and commercial expansion there would be no problem with Lake Mead or anywhere else. There is plenty of water off California, of course, but its salty. But -- they didn't, instead believing that Lake Mead and its feeds and downstream were inexhaustible irrespective of putting ten times or more the user load that was formerly there on said watershed. The same is true for electrical infrastructure; it's fine to expect the bill to cover the maintenance of same, just as property taxes should over time, but not the construction which has to take place before the people show up.
These impacts are not due to "globull" anything. That infamous house that washed into the river near Yellowstone was stupidly build right in a riverbank on land that is clearly part of where the river carved, and might again since it did before. Well, it did. Big shock, right?
Just wait for the whining when the Snake River blows into its historical flood plain and all those couple of million dollar places I saw have two feet of water in their lower level or are washed off their foundations by the swift water and completely destroyed. We'll hear the whining, I'm sure -- when the real problem is that the people who built them there were stupid.