LOS ANGELES — A new study says the Southwest region of the United States faces the threat of megadroughts this century as temperatures rise.

Researchers found the risk is reduced if heat-trapping gases are curbed.

Dry spells lasting at least two decades have gripped the Southwest before, but scientists said future megadroughts would be hotter and more severe.

The study was published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

The Colorado River basin, which spans parts of Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Mexico, has been in the midst of a historic drought for the past 16 years.

VIAThe Associated Press
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.