Climate Change Made California Drought 20% Worse

Climate change is a key driver of California’s drought, scientists said Thursday. Though researchers have said the historic dry spell is primarily the result of a natural variability, climate change can make a drought more acute—and in this case, they say warmed global conditions may have intensified it by 15 to 20 percent. Economists have estimated the drought is costing the state as much as $2.7 billion a year. “This would be a drought no matter what,” said the lead author of the study. “It would be a fairly bad drought no matter what. But it’s definitely made worse by global warming.”