Several factors, including La Niña events, have contributed to the expanded drought, meteorologists say. Conditions in the West may be setting up for a 'megadrought' by century's end, researchers warn.
Many scientists suggest that climate changes could be causing certain kinds of wildfires for which the West's forests are not well adapted. This year could help researchers better understand and fight the trend.
Many studies have documented the West's declining snowpack. But a new one, published Friday in the journal Science, covers the length of the Rockies over an 800-year period.