Scientists warn the Southwest and Central Plains could face “megadroughts” during the second half of this century. And they could last for decades.
The scientists write in a study in the journal Science Advances that global warming will lead to “unprecedented drought conditions” — the worst in more than 1,000 years.
The study is based on current increasing rates of rising emissions of carbon dioxide and complex simulations run by 17 different computer models, which generally agreed on the outcome.
The Southwest will see less rain. But the biggest problem in both regions will be the heat, which will increase evaporation and dry out the soil.
The lead author is NASA atmospheric scientist Benjamin Cook, who says, “We’re going to have to think about a much drier future in western North America.”