It has been foreseen in many researches that the American Southwest and central Great Plains has the possibility of encountering substantial drought during the later part of this century. The rapid rate of Earth’s climate change will further aggravate the condition.
A new analysis published today that the situation will be even more severe than depicted earlier and is expected to the worst in almost a 1,000 years. Somewhere in between
2050 and 2100 the drought conditions will become much more ruthless compared to the mega-droughts of the 12th and 13th centuries.
The tree rings and further data suggest that nothing ever came close to those periods of utter dryness except what is being anticipated for the U.S in the upcoming years.
Benjamin Cook, a research scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City and lead author of the study said, “The analysis “shows how exceptional future droughts will be.”
This conclusion was achieved by making comparisons of 17 diverse computer projections of 21st century climate with the reports of the past millennium, particularly of the North American Drought Atlas which is based of widespread tree-ring researches carried out by Edward cook, a researcher at Columbia University Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
The computer projections established drought much worse than the previous millennium and definitely worse than the one out West prevailing for more than a decade now costing billions of dollars.
Apart from that it is also anticipated that the drying in the Southwest would be caused by a mixture of less rain and supplementary soil evaporation because of higher temperatures. Although in the Great Plains there is no confirmation on less rain but soil evaporation is highly probable. “Even where rain may not change much, greater evaporation will dry out the soils,” Cook says.
This situation calls for excessive pressure on crops and also more shortage of water in urban regions. We have strategies today to deal with drought—develop more drought-resistant crops, use more groundwater,” Cook says. “But if future droughts will be much more severe, the question is whether we can extend those strategies or if we need new ones.”
City planners and legislators will be faced with grave difficulties and groundwater is a limited resource.
“Our water laws and sharing agreements are very convoluted,” Cook notes. Untangling them in order to make conservation measures practical and equitable “could become a wicked problem.”
The upcoming move for the team will be to establish the transition period. Cook says “We’re still uncertain about that,”