The scientists from Cornell and Columbia Universities and NASA say that these droughts could happen in the next 40 years if climate change continues and drastic measures are not taken to stop it.
The study was published in the journal Science Advances and the researchers are saying that the future drought risk could exceed even the most extreme dry conditions that occurred during the Medieval times. These periods have been dubbed by the scientists as megadroughts.
The study reveals that the United States face an 80% risk of extended drought period between 2050 and 2099. Researchers involved in the study say that this could happen unless aggressive measures are taken to stop the serious impacts of climate change.
The scientists wrote that there is an increased risk of megadroughts that could last for decades, and the level of aridity could exceed that of the arid periods that happened during the Medieval ages.
The researchers explained that the new study points out to an extremely dry future, a future that presents serious challenges and “falls far outside the contemporary experience of natural and human systems in Western North America.”
The study reveals that the number of people currently living in the Central Plains and Southwest regions of the US, and the volume of water needed has increased in the last decades. According to the new report, this will continue to increase in the next decades.
Scientists believe that these future megadroughts will occur in a hotter world, when the weather conditions will be serious added stress on both the agriculture and the natural ecosystems.
The study also reads that in recent years there has been a “widespread depletion of nonrenewable groundwater reservoirs.”
The researchers warn that the future extreme droughts could be the result of a combination of factors, such as the loss of groundwater, higher temperatures and the impact of climate change.
All these will present a major adaptation challenge, according to the new study.
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