Drought is a universally understood phenomenon — especially here in the arid Southwest. But what does drought really mean? To help define the term, and the concept, scientists use several commonly used drought indices. Each summarizes thousands of data points on rainfall and other information into a single handy number.
Across the Southwest more and more bears have shown up in people’s kitchens, garages and flower beds. Wildlife officials in Colorado say in that state alone they had to euthanize 133 “problem bears” last year. And in Arizona at least a dozen bears have been euthanized, and scores of sightings have many people rattled.
A place with one of the harshest climates in the Southwest –- Phoenix -- records more days over 100 degrees than any other major city in the country. But climate models predict metro Phoenix, with its population of four million, will get hotter.
Here in John Larsala’s driveway, the view is bleak.
“You see our tree is dead,” Larsala said. “All these trees are dying because I can’t put water on it.”
The grass is dead too. In fact, there is no grass anymore.