Blog Archive

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Aiguo Dai, NCAR: Drought may threaten much of globe within decades

Climate change: Drought may threaten much of globe within decades

October 19, 2010
BOULDER, CO —The United States and many other heavily populated countries face a growing threat of severe and prolonged drought in coming decades, according to a new study by National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) scientist Aiguo Dai. The detailed analysis concludes that warming temperatures associated with climate change will likely create increasingly dry conditions across much of the globe in the next 30 years, possibly reaching a scale in some regions by the end of the century that has rarely, if ever, been observed in modern times.

droubt map 1 2000-2009drought map 2 2030-2039drought map 3 2060-2069drought map 4 2090-2099

Future drought. These four maps illustrate the potential for future drought worldwide over the decades indicated, based on current projections of future greenhouse gas emissions. These maps are not intended as forecasts, since the actual course of projected greenhouse gas emissions as well as natural climate variations could alter the drought patterns.The maps use a common measure, the Palmer Drought Severity Index, which assigns positive numbers when conditions are unusually wet for a particular region, and negative numbers when conditions are unusually dry. A reading of -4 or below is considered extreme drought. Regions that are blue or green will likely be at lower risk of drought, while those in the red and purple spectrum could face more unusually extreme drought conditions. (Courtesy Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews, redrawn by UCAR. This image is freely available for media use. Please credit the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. For more information on how individuals and organizations may use UCAR images, see Media & nonprofit use*)



Anonymous said...

This is one of those things that folks just aren't getting. In a recent poll on my LJ, less than half the people polled agreed that "drought and famine will kill hundreds of millions of people by 2030" or "the comparative cost of my food will increase 100% by 2030"; in fact over half believe that "costs of food and goods will go up some, but my family will be able to handle it."

As this drought hits, we'll be tapping into the last reserves of our fossil aquifers. Economies around the world will be overburdened and there will be nothing for the starving.

Sorry, you know all of this. Sometimes it just gets to me.

Tenney Naumer said...

You are right. Only a very tiny percentage of the population actually understands what is coming. For those of us who know, it causes an indescribable feeling at times.