Already dealing with parched conditions, the U.S. Southwest faces the threat of megadroughts this century as temperatures rise, says a new study that found the risk is reduced if heat-trapping gases are curbed. "It is important to realize that future droughts will be much hotter, and thus the impacts of these droughts will be much more severe," said UA climate scientist Jonathan Overpeck.
Understanding our complex and changing environment requires large amounts of innovative data and ways of analyzing it. The UA has a strong tradition of compiling unique data sets, including tree rings, satellite imagery and plant genetics, that are now stored, integrated and analyzed using new informatics techniques and computer models. This builds on UA expertise in remote sensing and monitoring of the Earth and other planets, and on the imperative to better predict the environmental challenges of the future.