80% risk of ‘mega drought’ happening in the US study finds

There is an 80% possibility of a ‘mega drought’ event in the south-west and Central Plains of America within the next 1,000 years, US scientists are predicting.

The study states that climate change will be the main cause of such a prolonged drought event.

“Future droughts will occur in a significantly warmer world with higher temperatures than recent historical events, conditions that are likely to be a major added stress on both natural ecosystems and agriculture,” the study states.

Should temperatures remain increasing in their current directions, agricultural production in the Central Plains and south-west regions could deteriorate rapidly, the study says.

The research was carried out by using the North American Drought Atlas (NADA), a tree ring based research method that reconstructs summer seasons.

The risk of prolonged drought periods was calculated for two periods, from 1950-2000 and 2050-2099.

The study found that for the period 1950-2000 the risk of such a ‘megadrought’ was less than 12% for both the Central Plains and the south-west.

The scientists then found that for the period 2050-2099 there is an 80% chance of a ‘megadrought’ in both regions.

The research was recently published in Science Advances  by scientists from NASA, Cornell University and Columbia University.

Comments

Please be considerate of others when commenting. All comments posted are subject to our commenting policy. Comments violating this policy will be removed without notice.