Monday, February 16, 2015

What Isn't Being Said About the Megadrought

You have probably seen the announcements concerning research by NASA scientists indicating the U.S. is probably headed for a megadrought later this century. A megadrought is defined as one that persists for 30 years, or more. The probability of it happening is heavily dependent on how we go about dealing with greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, the probability of such a drought occurring is estimated at 12%. If greenhouse gas emissions level off in the middle of the century the probability increases to 60%. If we continue to increase greenhouse emissions the way we are ('business as usual' scenario) the probability increases to about 85%. The Southwest and the mid-America regions will be the most effected and the droughts will likely be worse than anything seen in the last 1000 years. 

The report has gotten a lot of press. For example, see the article here, here, here, or here. Just for starters. It has certainly been getting a lot of attention.

But, there is something important that I have not seen reported in any of these articles. Take a look at this NASA video that shows the progression of the drought.  In particular, look closely at the depiction starting about 1:35 into the video. This shows how the drought will progress and intensify over the years. Sure enough, the Southwest and mid-America regions get hit pretty hard. But, that isn't all. Take a look to the south. See what is going to happen to Mexico and Central America. It is even worse than what is projected to happen to the U.S. They are going to get clobbered!

You might be saying, 'I'm really sorry to hear that. I feel for those poor people but we will obviously be having our own problems to deal with.' If you do, then you're really missing the point - their problems are our problems.

The population of Central America is about 42 million. The population of Mexico is another 122 million. That means there would be somewhere around 165 million desperate people on our southern border, not including population growth. There will be large numbers of people interested in coming to the U.S.. Widespread desperation will also lead to a rise of radical extremists promising solutions to all of the problems of anyone willing to follow them in a campaign of violence and revolution. In addition to the social problems, it would also mean economic disruption. We get nearly all of our bananas and much of our coffee from this region. In exchange, we sell them over $1 billion per year in food products alone.

The drought in California cost consumers over $2 billion last year. The probable megadrought will cost us much more than that, but would also result in a flood of humanity coming here, violence at our borders and even more economic losses.

One more time, tell me how climate change is good for us?

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