The average surface temperature in the United States has increased by 1.3 degrees to 1.9 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895, with a majority of the increase occurring in the last 50 years.
In addition to its more observable effects on everyday life such as rising temperatures, increases in extreme weather events, water shortages, and wildlife destruction, the climate crisis is contributing to reductions in the size and flow of America’s mightiest rivers. If steps are not taken to mitigate the emergency, these effects will continue to escalate.
In addition to climate change, the overallocation of water resources, mismanagement of water diversion projects, and increased water demand due to population increases are putting America’s most important rivers at risk of flow reduction. Already there are long-term signs some of America’s most iconic rivers, such as the Rio Grande and Colorado, are drying up and may soon join the growing list of attractions that are being destroyed by climate change.
To determine the U.S. rivers that are running dry, 24/7 Wall St. constructed an index based on data related to major U.S. river corridors. We considered the time a corridor was in severe drought and the percentage of land classified as being in severe drought over the past year. We also considered the change in annual temperature and annual precipitation over the last 50 years. Only rivers greater than or equal to 250 miles in length were considered.