New Mexico is the driest of the dry

As an extended drought bakes the West, nowhere are ravages of changes in the climate worse than in New Mexico.

Scientists in the West have a particular way of walking a landscape and divining its secrets: They kick a toe into loamy soil or drag a boot heel across the desert's crust, leaning down to squint at the tiny excavation.

Try that maneuver in New Mexico these days and it yields nothing but bad news in a puff of dust.

Across the West, changes in the climate are taking a toll. Almost 87% of the region is in a drought.

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