Scientists Predict Extreme US Drought by 2030s

Lake Mead drops to record low
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2010 8:13 AM CDT
Extreme Drought Predicted for US, Western Hemisphere by 2030s
An irrigation canal on the Klamath Reclamation Project near Klamath Falls, Ore., waits for water.   (AP Photo/Jeff Barnard)

(Newser) – The US and much of the western hemisphere are likely to face drought conditions worse than anything seen in modern times over the decades to come, scientists warn. National Center for Atmospheric Research scientists, working with climate models and greenhouse gas predictions, believe that severe drought will affect areas including two-thirds of the US, southern Europe, and much of Latin America beginning in the 2030s, LiveScience reports.

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"If the projections in this study come even close to being realized, the consequences for society worldwide will be enormous," one of the scientists says, although he cautions that many variables exist, including natural climate cycles and emission reductions. In what may be a small taste of things to come for the American West, Lake Mead, the country's biggest reservoir, has fallen to its lowest level since it was filled 75 years ago, the New York Times notes. Experts believe it may vanish completely by 2021.
(Read more drought stories.)

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