The Century of Drought

British scientists have issued the harshest warning yet about the devastating impact of unrestrained greenhouse gas emissions: “One third of the planet will be desert by the year 2100.

This stunning new UK research, from the Met Office’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, shows

[The] figure for moderate drought, currently at 25 per cent of the Earth’s surface, rising to 50 per cent by 2100, the figure for severe drought, currently at about 8 per cent, rising to 40 cent, and the figure for extreme drought, currently 3 per cent, rising to 30 per cent.

Within 100 years, some 30 percent of Earth will be rendered essentially uninhabitable, leading to mass migrations and millions of environmental refugees. And this result is based on a greenhouse gas emissions growth scenario that ignores key carbon cycle vicious cycles (such as the tundra melting). The Independent reports: “In one unpublished Met Office study, when the carbon cycle effects are included, future drought is even worse.

The UK study shows that we are already seeing the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on drought: “In the last decade of the 20th century droughts were nearly 25% more widespread than in the previous 40 years.” Climate Progress has noted the undercoverage of the drought-climate link in the major US media, but the British media certainly gets it, as evidenced by the cover story in The Independent. That may be because there is less muzzling of scientists. The Met Office is actually within the UK’s Ministry of Defence.

If only our political leadership were as concerned with the security threat from global warming.