The chances of a “megadrought” in the Southwest lasting more then 30 years is reported to be 50% while the chances of a 10 year drought are 80%, according to a study co-authored by Cornell University, the University of Arizona and U.S. Geological Survey scheduled to be published next month in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate.
The Los Angeles Times reported that according to Toby Ault, Cornell assistant professor of earth and atmospheric sciences and lead author of the study, that Whatever happens, California is likely to see prolonged drought and drier conditions, especially in the southern portion of the state.
The current drought, he said, is a preview of what will “happen in the future in climate change.”
“I am not trying to say this is imminent,” he said, “but the risk is high.”
For up-t0-date maps, publications, and drought-related-resources, check out the United States Geological Survey’s Drought Monitor
Using climate model projections, researchers determined that prolonged drought would probably hit New Mexico and Arizona as well as California. On the other hand, the chances for the same conditions affecting parts of Idaho, Washington and Montana may actually decrease.
The Los Angeles Times reported that megadrought conditions may also strike Australia, southern Africa and the Amazon, the researchers said.
Researchers and policy experts struggle to find solutions and develop strategies for coping with the effects of climate change in densely populated areas where megadroughts — “worse than anything seen during the last 2,000 years” — would pose “unprecedented challenges” to water resources.
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