Thursday, 21 October 2010 17:40

Droughts with "Enormous" Human Impact Could Afflict US, Other Countries in Decades

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Severe droughts having an "enormous" impact on the US and other countries could occur within the next 30 years unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. In the US drought has caused six to eight billion dollars in damage a year on average, the study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) estimates.  NCAR scientist Aiguo Dai said, "If the projections in this study come even close to being realized, the consequences for society worldwide will be enormous." The US and much of Latin America, Africa and the Middle East could see severe droughts, as well as parts of Asia and Southern Europe.  Regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea could experience "almost unprecedented" drought conditions, the study said.  "Severe drought conditions can profoundly impact agriculture, water resources, tourism, ecosystems, and basic human welfare." Although some higher-latitude regions like Northern Europe, Canada and Russia could become wetter, this will not offset the severe droughts. Dai assessed results from 22 computer models used by the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as well as data and published studies on droughts.  His projections are also based on expected greenhouse gas emissions this century. His scientific article is published in Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change here.  The study was supported by the National Science Foundation, NCAR’s sponsor. Learn More: Reduce your climate impact as an individual or business. Click here.
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