The unprecedented drought soon to face the U.S. will make droughts in recent years seem tame by comparison, according to a recent press release from the Earth Institute at Columbia University.
Driven by global warming caused by human activity, the great droughts will affect the entire U.S., but especially areas that have already recently seen droughts: the Southwest and Great Plains. In the American West, 11 of the past 14 years have already been drought years.
Scientific data, including predictions from 17 different climate models, all point to the same dire conclusion: there is going to be an unprecedented water shortage in the West, especially given the much larger populations than in the past when significant droughts occurred.
Data used to predict drought was largely based on information gathered from tree ring studies, soil samples and the Palmer Drought Severity Index, which shows the net input of water into the land.
The researchers also attempted to model a scenario where emissions continued to be produced according to current trends, and a scenario where emissions were curtailed. Each scenario still predicted an unprecedented drought to come.
Top image: Scientists claim that soil moisture is set to decline for the foreseeable future. (Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)