We ain’t seen nothing yet: The intense drought in California is only an appetizer compared with what’s coming this century across much of the western and central USA, according to a study out Thursday.
During the years 2050 to 2100, the Southwest and Great Plains will face a persistent “megadrought” worse than anything seen in the past 1,000 years, and the dry conditions will be “driven primarily” by human-induced global warming, scientists said.
There’s at least an 80% chance of a megadrought in these regions if climate change continues unabated, Toby Ault, an atmospheric scientist at Cornell University and co-author of the research, said at a news conference Thursday in San Jose.
A megadrought is defined as a drought that lasts for decades or longer, such as those that scorched portions of the West in the 12th and 13th centuries. Ault said megadroughts should be considered a natural hazard on par with earthquakes and hurricanes.
“Natural droughts like the 1930s Dust Bowl and the current drought in the Southwest have historically lasted maybe a decade or a little less,” Ben Cook, climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and lead author of the study, said in a statement.
“What these results are saying is we’re going to get a drought similar to those events, but it is probably going to last at least 30 to 35 years,” Cook said.
Full article: Megadrought may plague parts of USA (WFFA 8 ABC)