jueves, 12 de febrero de 2015

Megadrought projected for the second half of the century

          Worried about climate change? Got a farm in the Southwest of the U.S.? Be prepared! Benjamin Cook, of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City has released a study indicating that the second half of this century could well bring the most extended drought in...1,000 years, between 2050 and 2100 in the Great Plains and the Southwest the dry up could be more devastating than the megadroughts of the 12th and 13th centuries. Cook and his colleagues arrived at that conclusion after comparing 17 different computer projections of 21st century climate with drought records of the past millennium. What effect might that have on agriculture, the provision of food and the life style of U.S. citizens in the affected area? Well, the 2014 drought in California--a mere sampling of what might be in store--cost $2 billion in agricultural loses, according to the University of California. When will the megadrought begin? Cook's group is uncertain, but...perhaps in the next 20 or 50 years.
             OK. You are a skeptic. You have seen so many of those studies, later contradicted by others. Maybe also influenced by the groups that finance the studies. But if we suppose that the projection is way off, that the next hundred years will only be the driest in...100 years. Even so, the situation is alarming. What remains to be seen is the cause of this projected drought. And its consequences. It has been said that in the future the struggle for oil will lead to as many political and military confrontations as the struggle for oil is producing at present. Look at the map. Areas of war and violence bear an extraordinary coincidence with  areas that produce oil for the cars and factories of the industrialized world. Scientists generally agree that the excessive emission of carbon dioxide is a strong contributing factor to the warming up of the planet.



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