Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features Lake Powell, which straddles the border of southeastern Utah and northeastern Arizona.
NASA reports that after two decades of long-term drought in the American Southwest, the two largest reservoirs in the United States stand at their lowest levels since they were first filled. The second largest reservoir is Lake Powell, where water levels fell to their lowest level this summer since 1969.
By September 20, 2021, the water elevation at Glen Canyon Dam was more than 153 feet below its full pool, holding just 30 percent of its capacity.
“Successive dry winter seasons in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021, together with a failed 2020 summer southwestern monsoon, led precipitation totals since January 2020 to be the lowest on record since at least 1895 over the entirety of the Southwest,” said members of a NOAA Drought Task Force in a report released on September 22.
“At the same time, temperatures across the six states considered in the report (Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah) were at their third highest on record. Together, the exceptionally low precipitation and warm temperatures reduced snowpack and increased evaporation of soil moisture, leading to a persistent and widespread drought over most of the American West.“
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory