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The drought on the Colorado River can be predicted by warming the ocean

By Ian Morse

Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River in Glen Canyon, Arizona

Alamy Stock Photo

The forecast of the drought in the Colorado River, one of the most important rivers in the arid western United States, could lead to ocean temperatures thousands of kilometers away.

The Colorado River runs a little over 1,500 miles and supplies vast farmlands and 30 million people in seven US states and Mexico with water. A team of researchers found that distant sea surface temperatures today can help predict the river's water supply for up to two years in the future.

"If we can predict the lack of water on the Colorado River …