Global warming study: 5-year droughts could become the norm

“Unprecedented” droughts lasting at least five years will hit parts of the world by mid-century if nothing is done to curb global warming, an international team of scientists has warned.

Researchers from Japan, Europe, the United States and South Korea said measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are needed immediately to delay the onset of these drought conditions and shorten the duration periods of drought.

The team included academics from the University of Tokyo and the National Institute for Environmental Studies of Japan.

Much of the study focused on global data showing changes in river flows from 1861 to 2005.

Prediction models were created to simulate future trends in the annual number of drought days in each of the 59 regions of the world.

If greenhouse gas emissions continue to be released into the atmosphere as they are today, unprecedented drought conditions would become the norm, continuing for five years or more, in seven regions, including around of the Mediterranean, South America and the Middle East, from about 30 years old.

Similar dry conditions would hit 18 of the regions by the end of this century.

Droughts could also become more frequent in Japan, including in western parts of the country, the scientists said.

“Measures must be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to delay widespread droughts,” said Yusuke Satoh, team member and associate research professor at China’s Higher Institute of Science and Technology. Korea.

“‘Adaptation’ measures to mitigate the negative impact of climate change should also be taken over the coming decades.”

The research results have been published in Nature Communications, a British scientific journal.

Teresa H. Sadler