Will there be another "dust bowl" in the Great Plains similar to the one that swept the region in the 1930s?
It depends on water storage underground. Groundwater depth has a significant effect on whether the Great Plains will have a drought or bountiful year.
Recent modeling results show that the depth of the water table, which results from lateral water flow at the surface and subsurface, determines the relative susceptibility of regions to changes in temperature and precipitation.
"Groundwater is critical to understand the processes of recharge and drought in a changing climate," said Reed Maxwell, an atmospheric scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who along with a colleague at Bonn University analyzed the models that appear in the Sept. 28 edition of the journal Nature Geoscience.