Western US Mega-droughts On the Way – Study

The 2000 to 2004  drought in the North American West was the worst since the last mega-drought  800 years ago, with major impacts to the carbon cycle and hints of even drier times ahead, says a new study published in Nature Geo-Science, reports the National Snow and Ice Data Center.  The study says the drought severely reduced carbon absorption by land and stressed regional water resources,  significantly decreasing  river flows and crop yields.  This drought “ may be the wetter end of a new climatology that would make the 21st century climate like mega-droughts of the last millennium,” said  lead author Christopher Schwalm. The study showed that this 5-year drought “reduced plant uptake by half in western North America,” said co-author Kevin Schaefer. The current drought is just as intense, but larger,  including parts of the Midwest and Eastern US. Climate models indicate drought conditions in the American West may be the new normal as the planet warms, expanding already chronically dry regions, further reducing carbon storage Shaefer noted, and worsening water shortages. No adaptation to such droughts are possible, noted NASA climatologist David Rind.


Turn of the century drought worst in 800 years, study says http://nsidc.org/news/press/20120730_draught.html

Without Carbon Controls, We Face Many More Dust Bowls; 2002-2004 Western Drought Was Worst In 800 Years http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/climateprogress/lCrX/~3/tEHub9O8vr8/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email  Posted: 30 Jul 2012 02:03 PM PDT The climatologist David Rind, who did pioneering work on drought projection with NASA, said back in 2005 that “if you get drought indices like these, there’s no adaptation that’s possible.”


About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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