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Warm and cold wet states in the western United States

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Black and white image of mountains and landscape

The remnants of expansive lake systems that previously covered the western United States are clear evidence that the region now known as the "desert west" has not always been so deserted. During past intervals of both warmer-than-modern and colder-than-modern conditions large lakes covered much of the west. We are evaluating the climatic conditions that provide enough water to support lakes in such opposing climate states. See our work in Geology comparing lake dynamics of the Last Glacial Maximum and Mid-Pliocene (Ibarra et al., 2018).