Science drought_map4_h

Published on October 20th, 2010 | by Joshua S Hill

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Much of the Globe Threatened with Drought

October 20th, 2010 by

A large percentage of heavily populated countries could suffer severe and prolonged drought in coming decades, according to a new study which analysed 22 computer climate models and a mass of information concerning current drought conditions worldwide.

The study, conducted by National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) scientist Aiguo Dai and reported as part of a longer review article in Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, finds that a continuing rise in global temperatures are likely to see a parallel increase in drought conditions across a large majority of the planet in the next three decades.

In fact, Dai believes that the drought conditions could reach levels rarely, if ever, seen before in modern times.

“We are facing the possibility of widespread drought in the coming decades, but this has yet to be fully recognized by both the public and the climate change research community,” Dai says.

The paper lists Eurasia, Africa and Australia as being subject to increased dryness by the 2030s, but other countries and continents are not excluded;

Other countries and continents that could face significant drying include:

  • Much of Latin America, including large sections of Mexico and Brazil
  • Regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea, which could become especially dry
  • Large parts of Southwest Asia
  • Most of Africa and Australia, with particularly dry conditions in regions of Africa
  • Southeast Asia, including parts of China and neighboring countries
  • The study also finds that drought risk can be expected to decrease this century across much of Northern Europe, Russia, Canada, and Alaska, as well as some areas in the Southern Hemisphere.

And while the findings are based on the best current available projections of greenhouse gas emissions, and all future weather conditions will be affected by many factors including actual greenhouse gas emissions in the future – hopefully mitigated by human effort – as well as natural climate variability such as weather patterns like El Niño, “if the projections in this study come even close to being realized, the consequences for society worldwide will be enormous.”

Source: National Science Foundation

Image Source: UCAR

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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, a liberal left-winger, and believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I work as Associate Editor for the Important Media Network and write for CleanTechnica and Planetsave. I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), Amazing Stories, the Stabley Times and Medium.   I love words with a passion, both creating them and reading them.



  • Pingback: Price Waterhouse Looks at the Cost of Climate Change and Drought – Red, Green, and Blue

  • http://Web Orkneygal

    According to IPCC AR4 Section 9.2.2 figure 9.1.f, the theory of AGW, caused by greenhouse gas release, has a particular signature in the atmospheric temperature profile.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter9.pdf

    One important aspect of this temperature profile is commonly called the “Tropical Tropospheric Hotspot”.

    According to the IPCC, if the currently warming is caused by greenhouse gas release, there must be evidence of it through the “Tropical Tropospheric Hotspot”.

    The difficulty for the true believers is that the “Tropical Tropospheric Hotspot” cannot be found.

    Radiosonde data does not show it. Satellite data does not reveal it, even when tortured by the Hockey Team.

    An attempt to “prove” that it is really there, but hidden using some hocus, pocus about wind shear has been recently debunked and falsified.

    Since the signature that the IPCC claims their theory says must be there, there are only a few alternatives-

    1. IPCC climate theory is fundamentally wrong.
    2. To the extent that IPCC climate theory is correct in predicting a hotspot due to extra carbon dioxide, we know that carbon emissions did not cause the recent global warming.

    More information-

    http://www.sciencespeak.com/MissingSignature.pdf

  • Brad Arnold

    “Few seem to realise that the present IPCC models predict almost unanimously that by 2040 the average summer in Europe will be as hot as the summer of 2003 when over 30,000 died from heat. By then we may cool ourselves with air conditioning and learn to live in a climate no worse than that of Baghdad now. But without extensive irrigation the plants will die and both farming and natural ecosystems will be replaced by scrub and desert. What will there be to eat? The same dire changes will affect the rest of the world and I can envisage Americans migrating into Canada and the Chinese into Siberia but there may be little food for any of them.” –Dr James Lovelock’s lecture to the Royal Society, 29 Oct. ’07

    Ecosystems go into quick decline when warming reaches a certain threshold. Leemans and Eickhout (2004) found that more ecosystems collapse as warming speeds up.Their study finds that: If the warming is 0.1 °C per decade, 5 percent of ecosystems will collapse. If the warming is 0.3 °C per decade, 15 percent of ecosystems will collapse. If the rate exceeds 0.4 °C per decade, all ecosystems will be quickly destroyed. A 0.3 degree C. increase is predicted for the period 2004-2014 alone by Smith, Cusack et al, 2007.

    “The alternative (to geoengineering) is the acceptance of a massive natural cull of humanity and a return to an Earth that freely regulates itself but in the hot state.” –Dr James Lovelock, August 2008

    • Brad Arnold

      Here is what Climate Code Red says:

      –Human emissions have so far produced a global average temperature increase of 0.8 degree C.

      –There is another 0.6 degree C. to come due to “thermal inertia”, or lags in the system, taking the total long-term global warming induced by human emissions so far to 1.4 degree C.

      –If human total emissions continue as they are to 2030 (and don’t increase 60% as projected) this would likely add more than 0.4 degrees C. to the system in the next two decades, taking the long-term effect by 2030 to at least 1.7 degrees C. (A 0.3 degree C. increase is predicted for the period 2004-2014 alone by Smith, Cusack et al, 2007).

      –Then add the 0.3 degree C. albedo flip effect from the now imminent loss of the Arctic sea ice, and the rise in the system by 2030 is at least 2 degree. C, assuming very optimistically that emissions don’t increase at all above their present annual rate! When we consider the potential permafrost releases and the effect of carbon sinks losing capacity, we are on the road to a hellish future, not for what we will do, but WHAT WE HAVE ALREADY DONE.

      “Processes that would normally regulate climate are being driven to amplify warming. Such feedbacks, as well as the inertia of the Earth system — and that of our response — make it doubtful that any of the well-intentioned technical or social schemes for carbon dieting will (work). What is needed is a fundamental cure.” –Dr James Lovelock

      “The alternative (to geoengineering) is the acceptance of a massive natural cull of humanity and a return to an Earth that freely regulates itself but in the hot state.” –Dr James Lovelock, August 2008

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