Between GW and the drought, the south west and Vegas are in trouble and it's going to get worse.
"The way the climate system works out here is it tends to be sticky," Pederson said. "If it's wet, you get these generally wet conditions for 10 to 20 years at a time, and if it's dry, you typically get dry conditions 10 to 20 years at a time."
While scientists say that climate change may not be the main cause of the drought, it has made it worse. Global warming has caused the high temperatures that have dried up soils and caused early melting of the snowpack, and many scientists say it has also altered atmospheric circulation patterns that have shifted storms away from the state– meaning much less rain.
"I would guarantee you it's a combination" of natural and human causes, Pederson said. "And they're inevitably linked and related."
But that's not all.
And it didn't stop there. By mid-afternoon Tuesday, the lake was at 1,079.76 feet. If lake levels are projected to fall below 1,075 feet in January 2016, it will trigger restrictions on the amount of water than can be drawn from the lake. Additional restrictions would follow if levels reach below 1,050 feet and 1,025 feet.
The city of Las Vegas, which gets 90 percent of its water from Lake Mead, is so concerned about falling reservoir levels that it is building a new intake pipeline deeper within the lake, to ensure it will be able withdraw water even if lake levels continue to decline.Global warming is "more or less a stacking of the deck" that increases the likelihood of dry conditions in the West, said Greg Pederson, a research scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey.
What's really disconcerting is the fact GW's just starting to ramp up. Something to consider when it comes to climate conditions on this planet that's conducive to our continued survival on this planet.