GREAT MEGA DROUGHT COMING
The U.S. Southwest and Central Plains regions are likely to be scorched by a decades-long “mega drought” in the second half of this century if climate change continues unabated, scientists from NASA and Cornell and Columbia universities have warned.
In a study published by the journal Science Advances this week, the researchers forecast that future drought risk in the area is likely to exceed even the driest conditions experienced during extensive Medieval-era periods that have been dubbed “mega droughts.”
There is an 80 per cent chance of an extended drought between 2050 and 2099 unless aggressive steps are taken to mitigate the impacts of climate change, the article predicted.
Richard Seager, a senior researcher at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, looked at 19 computer models of the future under current global warming trends. He found remarkable consistency: Sometime before 2050, the models predicted, the Southwest will be gripped in a dry spell akin to the Great Dust Bowl drought that lasted through most of the 1930s.
“Ultimately, the consistency of our results suggests an exceptionally high risk of a multi decade mega drought … (and) a level of aridity exceeding even the persistent mega droughts that characterized the Medieval era,” the scientists wrote.