What Next

The Worst Drought in 1,200 Years

The Southwest is struggling today, and it’s not prepared for what may follow tomorrow.


Episode Notes

The American southwest is in a megadrought. Water levels in lakes are dropping, threatening the local environment as well as agriculture, hydroelectric power, and the people living there. As global temperatures rise, it could be a preview of worse things to come.

Guest: Dr. Jason Smerdon, ocean and climate physicist, and Lamont research professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University and co-director at the Earth Institute Faculty.

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Podcast production by Mary Wilson, Elena Schwartz, Carmel Delshad, and Madeline Ducharme, with help from Anna Rubanova and Jared Downing.


About the Show

The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

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  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.