The ongoing drought in the Western United States has caused so much groundwater loss that the earth has risen 0.16 inch on average in the past 18 months — up to 0.6 inch in the snow-deprived mountains of California.
That is the grim finding of a new joint study by the University of California San Diego's Scripps Institute of Oceanography and the United States Geological Survey. The greatest rise of the earth's surface has been along the Pacific Coast and Sierra Mountains.
Groundwater loss from early 2013 has been 63 trillion gallons. That is the equivalent of flooding four inches of water across the land west of the Rocky Mountains.