Vanishing Arctic ice could drive future California droughts

Read the full story in Science Magazine.

California’s recent 5-year drought was brutal: Houseboats sat on lakebeds, groundwater supplies dwindled, and thousands of fish literally baked to death. Scientists consider it the worst such event the Golden State has seen in 1000 years. Now, a new study identifies an unexpected suspect, thousands of kilometers to the north: an iceless Arctic Ocean. The finding, a new atmospheric mechanism that links Arctic melting to conditions farther south, suggests that calamities like the 2012–16 drought may become more frequent as Arctic ice continues to vanish.

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