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NASA Warns That This Century Could See Crippling Megadroughts
NASA Warns That This Century Could See Crippling Megadroughts

This week, NASA published its most robust study looking at drought prediction—and the news isn't good. Within the next century, the American southwest could experience a landscape-altering megadrought due to rising carbon emissions and global warming.

Unlike other scenarios when "mega" is a prefix indicating something awesome, like a Mega Bowl or Megatron, this is definitely not the case here. NASA climate scientist Ben Cook explains bluntly why we should be very, very concerned.

"Recent droughts, like the ongoing drought in California and the southwest and historical droughts like the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, these are naturally occurring droughts that typically last several years or sometimes almost a decade. In our projections with climate change, what we're seeing is that these droughts could last 20, 30, or even 40 years, even exceeding the duration of the long-term, intense megadroughts that characterized the really arid time period known as Medieval climate anomaly."

So these possible water-deficient nightmares are redefining the historical meaning of the word "megadrought."

So how far up shit creek are we? Well, even if we were able to stop greenhouse gases from increasing by 2050, we'd still be looking at 60 percent likeliness of a megadrought. If we continue in our fossil fuel-burning ways, the odds increase to 80 percent. NASA came up with these numbers by analyzing a drought severity index from 1,000 years of tree-ring data...

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