These quotes below are from an article found at Science Advances – 01 Feb 2015, a new journal of the AAAS American Association for the Advancement of Science.
You can also listen to a talk given on NPR’s Science Friday 13 Feb 2015 about this study, with Jason Smerdon, one of the authors. Click here => Science Friday – 13 Feb 2015
There is ≥80% chance of a multidecadal drought during 2050–2099 in the Central Plains and in the Southwest United States. … Ultimately, the consistency of our results suggests an exceptionally high risk of a megadrought occurring over the Central Plains and Southwest regions during the late 21st century.
We have demonstrated that the mean state of drought in the late 21st century over the Central Plains and Southwest will likely exceed even the most severe megadrought periods of the Medieval era in both high and moderate future emissions scenarios, representing an unprecedented fundamental climate shift with respect to the last millennium.
Our results point to a remarkably drier future that falls far outside the contemporary experience of natural and human systems in Western North America, conditions that may present a substantial challenge to adaptation. ….. And, perhaps most importantly for adaptation, recent years have witnessed the widespread depletion of nonrenewable groundwater reservoirs, resources that have allowed people to mitigate the impacts of naturally occurring droughts. In some cases, these losses have even exceeded the capacity of Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the two major surface reservoirs in the region. Combined with the likelihood of a much drier future and increased demand, the loss of groundwater and higher temperatures will likely exacerbate the impacts of future droughts, presenting a major adaptation challenge for managing ecological and anthropogenic water needs in the region.
Do listen to the NPR podcast linked above. It isn’t as technical as reading the article.
Huge water shortages are coming. The probability of a huge megadrought goes above 80%! Should we move? These are personal questions. On-the-ground stake holders have serious question to ask. It is going to become more expensive to live in California! The rains of the AT&T Pro AM may indeed be a thing of the past.
The problem with moving away from these areas is that, as more and more of these studies come out, people all around us will begin to move. This drought is going to be with us no matter what we do. Planning where to move that will give one a “good life” will become more and more difficult. Northern California or perhaps SW Canada is looking more and more inviting! We don’t need to rush, sometime in the next 15 years would be good. We just need to be ahead of the collapsing land values. 🙂