John Wheeler: Denver heat record exposes the long-term western drought

It is estimated from tree ring data that this may be the worst drought in this region is 1,200 years.

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FARGO — Denver, Colorado, recently broke their record for the most 90-degree days in September, and this is the ninth consecutive September in which Denver has recorded a 90-degree day later than average. This is just one small sample out of a multitude of similar records that are being set routinely as a result of the drought that has been ongoing across the western United States over the past 20 years or so.

From Colorado to California, the West is experiencing heat waves, wildfires and severe water shortages above and below ground. And conditions are getting worse. It is estimated from tree ring data that this may be the worst drought in this region in 1,200 years. The American West has a long-term, oscillating wet-to-dry climate, and it turns out that Americans settled during a wet upturn that has ended. Global Climate Change is likely making the current drought situation even worse.

Related Topics: WEATHER
John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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