We’re Already Topping Dust Bowl Temperatures — Imagine What’ll Happen If We Fail To Stop 10°F Warming

This heat wave has broken thousands  of temperature records. Climate Central reported Satuday, “In many cases, records that had stood since the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s have been equaled or exceeded, and this event is likely to go down in history as one of America’s worst.”

In general, we expect the greatest number of temperature records to be set during a widespread drought. I explained why that is that the case in my Nature article last year on “The next dust bowl” (full text here):

Warming causes greater evaporation and, once the ground is dry, the Sun’s energy goes into baking the soil, leading to a further increase in air temperature. That is why, for instance, so many temperature records were set for the United States in the 1930s Dust Bowl; and why, in 2011, drought-stricken Texas saw the hottest summer ever recorded for a US state.

Why is this bad news? Because the Earth has warmed only a bit more than 1°F since the catastrophic Dust Bowl — and we are poised to warm an astounding 9-11°F this century if we stay anywhere near our current greenhouse gas emissions path.

Much as our current monster heat wave has been made worse by human activity (man-made global warming) so too was the Dust Bowl — but in that case it was bad agricultural practices. As NOAA’s  discussion of “The Dust Bowl Drought” explains:

The drought came in three waves, 1934, 1936, and 1939-40, but some regions of the High Plains experienced drought conditions for as many as eight years. The “dust bowl” effect was caused by sustained drought conditions compounded by years of land management practices that left topsoil susceptible to the forces of the wind.

For discussion of some of those land management practices, see here.

Unfortunately, while we have improved much of our land management since then, we have chosen to ignore decades of warning by climate scientists that unrestricted emissions of greenhouse gases would cause ever-worsening droughts. A 1990 Journal of Geophysical Research study, “Potential evapotranspiration and the likelihood of future drought,” projected that severe to extreme drought in the United States, then occurring every 20 years or so, could become an every-other-year phenomenon by mid-century.

Aiguo Dai of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, in his 2010 study, “Drought under global warming: a review,” had a similar conclusion. I will blog shortly on his updated findings, but here is a rough representation of where his analysis projects the PDSI [Palmer Drought Severity Index] will be soon after mid-century, again, if we don’t dramatically reverse greenhouse gas emissions trends:

The PDSI in a moderate emissions scenario soon after mid-century. In the Great Plains during the Dust Bowl, the PDSI apparently spiked very briefly to -6, but otherwise rarely exceeded -3 for the decade (see here).

Dai found that:

By the end of the century, many populated areas, including parts of the United States and much of the Mediterranean and Africa, could face readings in the range of -4 to -10. Such decadal averages would be almost unprecedented.

Whereas in the 1930s, you could certainly make a case that people didn’t know just how destructive their land management practices were. But we have been warned again and again that we face ever-worsening warming and drought conditions. Here are a few more studies:

The serious hydrological changes and impacts known to have occurred in both historic and prehistoric times over North America reflect large-scale changes in the climate system that can develop in a matter of years and, in the case of the more severe past megadroughts, persist for decades. Such hydrological changes fit the definition of abrupt change because they occur faster than the time scales needed for human and natural systems to adapt, leading to substantial disruptions in those systems. In the Southwest, for example, the models project a permanent drying by the mid-21st century that reaches the level of aridity seen in historical droughts, and a quarter of the projections may reach this level of aridity much earlier.

… the climate change that is taking place because of increases in carbon dioxide concentration is largely irreversible for 1,000 years after emissions stop….   Among illustrative irreversible impacts that should be expected if atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increase from current levels near 385 parts per million by volume (ppmv) to a peak of 450-600 ppmv over the coming century are irreversible dry-season rainfall reductions in several regions comparable to those of the “dust bowl” era

The ‘debate’ about the future of drought in the United States under business-as-usual emissions, such as it is, is how far into the northern US Great Plains and Midwest Dust Bowl conditions will extend — and that’s without even considering the impact of the increasingly early loss of the winter snowpack, which most of these studies don’t even model.

Are we really so blinkered that we we are going to take the risk ruining the breadbasket of the world just as we are adding another 2 billion people to the planet?

64 Responses to We’re Already Topping Dust Bowl Temperatures — Imagine What’ll Happen If We Fail To Stop 10°F Warming

  1. Jeff Huggins says:

    So …

    Has President (and candidate) Obama been talking about this loudly and clearly, connecting the dots, being honest with the American people, educating us about climate change, and telling us exactly what he’ll do about it if reelected?

    If not, have we been demanding that he do so? If not, why not? If so, why haven’t we been effective? (Could it be that far too many people have said, or implied, that they’ll vote for him no matter what he says or does? — and no matter what his policies are in related matters, for example the TPP?)

    Be Well,


  2. Leif says:

    The question that comes to mind is who gets to hold the bag for all the lost equity in the abandoned equity in the arid waste lands? “We the People”? Bankers that have profited and financed the mess in spite of scientific evidence? Corporations, having reaped vast profits as they continue to deny the reality? Politicians who have done the same? Individuals? Capitalism dependent on the mantra of “profits from pollution of the commons”? Who?
    I fore-see short tempers bubbling…

  3. Thanks for such a lucid and compelling update on some of the reasons we need to “dramatically reverse greenhouse gas emissions trends”.

    Great stuff, and the implications and terrifying, really.

    Here’s a quick discussion posting on a practical roadmap to doing something about it — to make a turn in the tide on climate change, by 2020:

  4. Joan Savage says:

    With the Southwest headed for profound drought by 2050, municipalities, commercial banks and their customers should review any public works bond issues or mortgage on property that is likely to become inoperable, or uninhabitable, before the bond issue or mortgage is retired.

    The role of the banks in the Dust Bowl was very mixed, and the current round is likely to be even more complex.

  5. Dick Smith says:

    Is it too much to ask of Obama for him to ask his National Academy of Science to answer some serious questions for us (with results after the election)?

  6. perceptiventity says:

    KMO welcomes Mark Robinowitz of back to the C-Realm Podcast to discuss why both the mainstream political left as well as the right in the United States cannot address the demands of Peak Oil in a realistic way. Republicans have rebuked Navy Secretary Ray Mabus for attempting to ween the Navy off of fossil fuels because they see finding alternatives to petroleum as a Democratic partisan issue. Established environmental and social justice organizations are still holding onto unrealistic Green Technology and Green Capitalism paradigms and have yet to come to terms with the fact that the project of the 21st Century will be figuring out how to equitably distribute a shrinking pie. One thing unlikely to be in short supply as the realities of diminishing fossil fuel reserves make themselves unmistakable: blame. Mark hopes that we can achieve Peak Blame sooner rather than later and get on with the grown-up work of figuring out how best to deploy our remaining energy resources.

  7. “The grown-up work of figuring out how best to deploy our remaining energy resources” seems to rather miss the point.

    We have far more fossil energy resources “remaining” than we can afford to deploy at all.

    It’s now past time for the peak oil enthusiasts to give it a rest and if they care, help with something real.

  8. Doug Bostrom says:

    Architects could help this issue by not arguing against common sense modifications to building codes.

  9. SecularAnimist says:

    I think the permanent extreme drought in the USA is going to come a lot sooner than 2050 — indeed, it may have already begun. That’s the scary thing about drought. We have a pretty extreme drought right now, this year. What if it simply never ends?

    As with the Arctic ice melt, the situation seems to be getting worse faster than most climate scientists imagined possible even just a few years ago.

  10. “Imagine What’ll Happen If We Fail To Stop 10°F Warming”

    And tomorrow everybody will drive his fossil fuel driven car again.

  11. Interesting reference, thanks! Must have been really disappointing when the Washington state AIA came in and spoke against that. I can relate.

    In the proposal for turning the tide by 2020, the thought is that a grand coalition – which should (and would readily) include the AIA, could help resolve conflicts like that so we can make forward progress together.

    BTW I had a chance to interview the national CEO of the AIA recently:

    He says some good things, like…

    “We are at this critical moment. We have realized our role in this nexus of the crisis of our effect on the environment as a human species. And we have been leaders as a group in trying to sound the alarm that the projects that we make affect the environment more than almost any other elements, including transportation, including energy generation…”

    So I think there’s some basis for coordinating effectively. Not that it will be easy, but who said saving the planet would be?

  12. Solar Jim says:

    The props of the Titanic could have been brought to “Full Stop” and the ship would still have been ripped apart due to its momentum and late iceberg siting, its short shortsightedness if you will.

    “if we fail to stop” is already “written in the clouds” for decades to come. The response does NOT appear to be linear. We have “played with fire” (especially using substances from the lithosphere) and appear to be “burning our house down.”


  13. Nick B says:

    As the American Dream becomes the American Nightmare. Those who have money will relocate to places they hope will support them with food and normality whilst the poorer (normal people) will begin to live a new kind of poverty. In a true democracy the many would demand change!

  14. Paul Klinkman says:

    Joe, calling it a second Dust Bowl isn’t bad but I’d call it a Fire Bowl.

    So long, it’s been good to know you,
    This fiery old fire is a’burning my home,
    And I’ve got to be drifting along.

  15. Paul Klinkman says:

    Well the firestorm blew in and it blew in like thunder,
    It fired us over, it fired us under
    It cut off the highway and blocked out the sun,
    And straight for the school all the people did run, singing…

  16. caerbannog says:

    Apologies for the OT post, but this is worth mentioning. It looks like Michael Mann might be getting some serious evening news airtime on ABC in the coming days/weeks.

    Bill Blakemore has just put up videos/transcripts of an extended interview of Michael Mann on his ABC News web-page:

    Dr. Mann ain’t pulling any punches. Here are a couple of the interview headlines:

    “Climate Denialists Worse Than Tobacco CEOs Lying Under Oath, Says Mann”

    “Climate Denialists Would Be Remembered as Villains, Says Mann”

    According to Dr. Mann’s FB page, bits and pieces of this interview may turn up on the ABC evening news in the coming weeks.

    In the mean time, it would be good to get the word out and get links to the Mann interview spread far and wide (so that they show up prominently in Google/Bing/Yahoo/etc. searches).

  17. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Make that “In a true democracy, the many would make change”. Isn’t it supposed to be government by the people? None of you are powerless, ME

  18. Ozonator says:

    For this wave of AGW, the skeptic tanks supported by extremist Republicans and Christians are being paid to blame solar flares and fuel (underbrush) build-up for the extreme heat and wildfires as heard on coast2coast4payola and seen in icecraps/tinywatts. Wildfires in Russia the previous years later blamed on normal/cooler weather meet with cricket noise for their terrible flooding. Since their CO2 produces only good corporate vegetation, they have yet to warn of fuel build-up after the terrible flooding in the US West, failed states of their Southeast, or now in Russia.

  19. Doug Bostrom says:

    The first and best duty of a building is to preserve the health and safety of occupants. The Washington AIA failed to exercise their imagination when it came to understanding the total scope of a building’s duty.

  20. Scott says:

    The dust bowl lasted for 4 years (1933-1936) compared to our 2012 hot spell only lasting for 1 month.

  21. Mark Shapiro says:

    The mid-century drought map looks like Canada, Russia, and maybe Argentina will be the only large, livable countries left.

    Not to unduly alarm people, but try to imagine each of them absorbing a billion climate refugees . . .

  22. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Indeed-we need realists and clear-thinkers to get the business of re-arranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic just right. The only path to actual human survival, the rapid and complete de-carbonisation of all energy sources, is, naturally, out of the question.

  23. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The inertia in the climate system means we are already dead. Our demise is pre-determined, and we are a wraith civilization of walking dead, only awaiting reality to catch up with necessity. The inertia of the life-hating Right makes this certainty more certain, but will, at least, provoke the crisis, which will rapidly, given the Right’s perennial preference, descend into war and genocide, that much sooner.

  24. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Hopeless naivety, Merrelyn, if you’ll forgive me. The system in all capitalist states cannot be reformed, certainly not through the phony pantomime of ‘democracy’, Only a complete overthrow of the system could work, and that will be resisted with unlimited violence. Intervention from outer space, by God, or some miracle of spiritual conversion amongst the rulers are our only hopes.

  25. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    ‘God sent Noah the rainbow sign,
    No more water, the fire next time’.

  26. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Only one month? Doing a Rip van Scotty the last fews years, were you?

  27. jyyh says:

    Likely there’s going to be some more aerosols in the atmosphere giving some more clouds and rain, because the dry lands erode… but there’s (currently) no way of knowing where they’ll end up, so that’s a scary map anyway.

  28. EDpeak says:

    Very important topic, but joe, as I’ve asked before:


    The map shown cuts out New Zealand.

    I’m very interested in knowing/seeing what is projected for New Zealand.

    This is an English language blog. NZ while not huge is one of the more well known English speaking countries in the world…help?

  29. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Mulga, representative democracy is indeed a ‘phony pantomime’ and shares a design principle with our current form of ‘capitalism’. Both can be changed when people understand the alternatives.

    Unfortunately, one of the major effects of both these systems is that over time they induce feelings of powerlessness, apathy and dependence which can be easily observed on these pages. The first step in change is when people realize they are not powerless, can get together with others, to plan and implement action. All great waves of social change begin with these simple steps, ME

  30. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Generally speaking, I would agree with your observations, and pray that they are still relevant. My hopelessness, unfortunately, lies in the belief that the global system is now constructed to make insurrection from beneath, whether violent or pacific, impossible. The global parasite class holds all the reins of power, has vast military, police, penal, coercive, indoctrination and co-optation resources at its command, and no compunction in using them. It seems to me that the only hope for survival lies with elements of the ruling caste realising that they too will die, and changing policy. Not only can they handle any insurgency by the rabble, but they have so thoroughly brainwashed the Dunning-Kruger lumpen element into the habits of greed, downward social envy, worship of the rich and xenophobia, jingoism and chauvinism that vast layers of society are basically beyond hope.

  31. EDpeak says:

    Actually the map cuts out parts of Australia too..and NCAR link watns $ to see the article..wish JR or one of other staff would update the graphic ;-(

    this is relevant for scientifically educating ourself but also for some of us might be personally relevant info too wanting to know projected effects on the part of the world

  32. NJP1 says:

    so where’s the problem?
    With people like senator John Shimkus stating that his god will not allow the Earth to be destroyed, I feel sure we can all go back to sleep

  33. NJP1 says:

    But on a more serious note, America and Canada have become the breadbasket of the world. Climate change will put an end to that, leaving maybe a billion people facing actual starvation not just hunger. No other nation will have the resources or inclination to fill that gap. Hungry people do not lie down and die if they have the means to do otherwise, I fear that the future looks more than merely bleak, it looks positively hostile.
    to quote Albert Einstein: I know not with what weapons WW3 will be fought, but WW4 will be fought with sticks and stones

  34. NJP1 says:

    NZ will be one of the few countries still able to grow its own food—till everybody else finds out.
    NZ will do itslf a favour by being left off the map I think

  35. Tom L says:

    ‘Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?’

  36. Mike 22 says:

    Full maps here:


  37. Spike says:

    I thought the UK especially the North, might be similarly placed in terms of being relatively drought spared. But we had a very dry spring and then 3 months of deluges of rain. Talking to a farmer the other day he said that much of his cereal crop was now afflicted with fungal diseases, and he has been unable to spray because the ground is so wet.

  38. Leif says:

    I keep rooting for WW III to be fought with rational thinking, love of fellow man and Earth’s life support systems and the Green Awakening Economy. And to quote another CP commentator past, “WW IV fought with sonnets.”

    Mankind will be forced to choose, one way or the another, the future awaits.

    Another quote to ponder, do not recall the source: “I died as mineral, came back as plant; I died as plant, came back as beast; I died as beast, came back as man; dying is always good.” Good for what or whom remains to be seen.
    I would hope our progeny.

  39. Joan Savage says:

    That would be a variant on a quotation of Rumi.
    The rest is more mystical.

  40. Treudo says:

    So, the world is going to end. Is this one of those republican scare tactics?

  41. Leif says:

    Thank you for he elucidation Joan.

  42. perceptiventity says:

    Peak Oil discourse has never been about burning the last remaing oil (which is impossible due to the coming collapse of the industrial civilization anyways) but rather a warning to stop the madness of denial that the resourse is finite.
    I’m with you on prosecuting the rich and powerfull for active disinformation of the populace. Just thought you might like the podcast conversation…

    Empathy Is the Invisible Hand

    Friend of the C-Realm, Joe S. joins the conversation to represent the viewpoint that free energy could be bad news, as it would allow humans to continue the project of constructing global dominance hierarchies and despoiling the biosphere. KMO plays a clip of Jeremy Rifkin talking about the ideas in his book The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis. Rifkin claims that advancing communications technology has allowed humans to expand the sphere of beings with whom they identify and for whom they feel empathy. With more time and energy at our disposal, might humans come to extend our empathic concern to include the entire biosphere?

    Hope you stay well

  43. David F. says:

    Joe, the weekly PDSI was just released today. It’s really a sobering map and puts into perspective the challenges facing farmers this year. The current nationally-averaged PDSI value is second only to 1934 for this week of the year. The PDSI, for those unaware, is an objective measure of drought conditions based on precipitation and temperature for each division and state.

    Here’s the map:

    And the current percentile ranking by state, based on records beginning in 1895:

  44. Mulga, mostly agree, but the “global parasite class” is itself a symptom, not the root cause…While some global leaders work hard to use a very bad system to make it far worse (like invading a country based on lies in 2003) most leaders operate within the boundaries the system sets for them..yes there is still ‘individual responsibility’ for these leaders, I do not fully absolve them, but the hard truth is that they (including the president of the USA) have very limited power in the area of, changing the system…another whole discussion but again to say, they are the symptom. Same even for ugly CEO behavior. It does not excuse the ugly CEO behavior, but the fact is, they have little or no power to change the system; if a CEO quits in disgust they will simply be replaced by the board of directors.

    If the board of directors by some 0.0001% chance acts in a way that is more social but hurts profits, then your and my retirement systems will pull money out in protest, sadly..

    But there is hope:

    “only a complete overthrow of the system could work, and that will be resisted with unlimited violence.”

    But that is only the “resistance” kind of overthrow…we have another option besides resistance (not that we should stop resisting..we need to continue resisting against poison in our food and 1000 other things)

    That other option is: “Build the Alternative”

    When you do that, you don’t need “permission” from rulers, from corporations, from anyone. To the extent we can build the alternative in news ways (it’s already been done to a great extent in the area of free open source software – we didn’t need microsoft’s permission, we just built it and created it as an alternative) then we can UNPLUG from the system.

    Imagine creating de-centralized economic exchange, decentralized forms of money, barter, and decentralized democratic ways of co-insurance. In the US our chances of getting public nonprofit universal insurance are very very very small in the near term and maybe beyond..if the chances are that low, why not try the “build it yourself” model there?

    But I’m saying even “commerce” itself can be built in decentralized manner, something far more ambitious. Imagine having enough eMoney credits in an eMoney system owned not by any corporations but which is decentralized and controlled by the public, and imagine having enough credits to be able to QUIT your job at the corporation, because the millions of us in the system includes house-builders, food growers, teachers, etc. That’s a VERY bare bones outline of the “build it yourself” way of making social change that we advocate at EconomicDemocracyDotOrg

    How far will we succeed? Not clear, but it’s a long-term strategic vision that is very seldom discussed, and not tried nearly often enough (obviously there are examples on small scales, which we’re very glad to see) (no “reply” link next to your comment Mulga, so we had to click on the one next to ME’s post)

  45. EDpeak says:

    Thank you very much Mike 22!

    Problem: ALL the maps when clicked, even the 2030-2039 etc, all open up a jpg for one only has the smaller maps for earlier periods..can someone email them to fix that?

    Now I’m looking at 2090-2099 say, and while NZ does better than many places, it’s not so clear how well..

    North island is almost entirely in the -3 to -4 drought

    ALL of NZ has almost NO yellow or greens, meaning, almost nothing between a wet 3 and a dry -0.5 or even -1.

    The top 1/3 or so of South Island is dry too..

    It’s the lower 2/3 of South Island in that map..and that is at the 3-to-4, I’m not sure if that’s a “too wet” for some agriculture, it’s not in the 0-to-3 range… And what if things flip around some? Even NZ is in danger, that is clear…

    Just not as seiorusly at US midwest, southern europe, must of Africa…mostly ok colors seem to be India, northern half? of China, Russia and other former ussr countries..

    But yes, NZ is looking better and better, and Tasmania and Victoria by 2090-2099 not good

  46. Joan Savage says:

    Monsanto Expects To See 5%-10% Corn Seed Price Increase in 2013 (Dow Jones Newswires)

    “Although most of Monsanto’s seed corn is irrigated, “it would be real nice to see a splash of rain at some point,” Grant said.”

  47. scarecities says:

    for countless millenia, man has fought countless wars over resources when there were more than enough for everybody
    now that we’re really running out of everything, to suggest that we will alter our behaviour really is the stuff of mindless fantasy

  48. scarecities says:

    only % price rises figure on balance sheets
    not starvation

  49. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Great stuff Econ Dem (below). And what many do not realize is that when people are working together to build a better alternative for all of them, they find it exhilarating and energizing which is very contagious. It can spread like wildfire, ME

  50. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Economic democracy, I agree that the only hope is withdrawal from the system, which will weaken it, and the construction from the bottom up of systems built on decent sufficiency, not insatiable greed, and equality, collaboration and human fraternity. The vampire system, being irredeemable and inviolable, must be starved of blood, and it will wither.
    Two problems, however, thwart my optimism. One is that there is insufficient time to take such deliberate, slow, action. The second is the inevitability of ferocious reaction that the parasite class will mount against even peaceful non-compliance with the genocidal system. In this country voluntarily organising boycotts of products or companies has already been criminalised, to defend business prerogatives, and the deranged Right has the stomach for a one-sided fight, the type they prefer.

  51. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Does that include Monsatan’s new ‘Agent Orange Ready’ seeds?

  52. Len Conly says:

    A revenue-neutral carbon tax is the only solution.

  53. Len Conly says:

    I agree with AIAWA’s point about a “comprehensive remedy.”

    “The AIAWA testified to the benefits of using this technology and in support of its use in homes. However, the AIAWA noted that legislation should not mandate that one type of technology over another and should focus on a comprehensive remedy to energy consumption.”

    In the absence of an international agreement on a revenue neutral carbon tax to effectively reduce emissions globally (see, any one measure such as solar water heating, will have the effect of reducing the price of fossil fuels globally which will cause increased consumption somewhere else. Only when the cost of heating your house with fossil fuel is more expensive than solar will behavior change.

  54. Len Conly says:

    There is the possibility that the desertification of the southwest has already begun. “Drought” may be seen as a misnomer in a few years.

  55. bSpittle says:

    lets get a congress capable of getting past the republican filibuster blockade, or complaining about the president (who we know supports a cap and trade program) won’t do much good.

  56. fritz says:

    Not to worry. Nature will solve our environmental problems for us. But She is a harsh mistress and plays no favorites among species. If a species can adapt and carve out a niche, Nature will allow them to live. If not, then they must disappear. It is the way of life and has always been so. Humans are NOT special to Nature and they are not exempt from what Nature will do. I am certain that if we disappear, Nature will not miss us.

  57. Bailey says:

    You got that right! Nature will miss us about like a dog misses the fleas it has shaken off, or the immune system misses the virus it has burned off.

  58. Mark E says:

    The president’s silence doesn’t help with that.

  59. Mark E says:

    If you believe we’re already dead, Mulga, why post at all? Only answer I can think of is being paid by Koch Brothers to undercut others’ strength to seek change.

  60. george says:

    climate denialists thanks to power of internet while obvious villains will slither off. most wont be here anyway as locally most are just old bitter white dudes and one local editorial is a guy selling tractors to farmers who are now bankrupt and his daily spiel is that nothing is much more self hating and self d*tructive can a denialist be???/ power of rationalization is par with denial. remember denialists and tea bags are all variants of end timers and prepper wishing for end times: we had evil bush cheney then ongoing wars now famine and then the last horseman picking up speed!!!!

  61. george says:

    fail to stop twenty degrees warming? it was ninety here in january. it is supposed to be freezing. then late freeze k*(ed off anything which was left. bush farm bill calls fruit and veggie farmers ‘alternative’ farms but 80% of crops here are lost due to out of control manmade pollution and emissions aka ‘climate change’.

  62. george says:

    the us drought monitor from conditions NOW looks almost identical to the mid century ‘scenario’ above…about half of US right NOW is in ‘exceptional’ drought and pretty much DIRECTLY above any major growing region or ‘breadbasket’ is now turning to permanent desert right NOW accor to drought monitor….so it isn’t happening in future. it is happening NOW and much faster than any predicted occurrence or some theoretical poss. future from a plethora of possibilities. the worse-case scenario is OCCURRING right now.