We may think that the only things that can destroy our present civilization would be a nuclear war, global pandemic or an asteroid impact. However, a threat looms over the horizon that while it is not as horrifying as the other three, is just as catastrophic: the megadroguht.
Currently the American Southwest is undergoing a water crisis. Bone-dry riverbeds and dusty plains stretch as far as the eye can see. Nonetheless, researchers believe that the current crisis will pale in comparison to what’s coming in eve of the 22nd century.
According to Popular Mechanics, a team from Cornell University has just calculated the risk of a Southwestern megadrought occurring by 2100. Led by Toby Ault, they believe that there is a chance of an extreme dry period that can last for more than 35 years hitting the region.
Ault believes that there’s a 70 to 99 percent chance of it happening based in part to the current rate of green house gas production.
Megadrought Caused By Climate Change
“We know these have happened here before, and we know they can happen again,” says Ault. “If we get really aggressive on combating climate change now, we can cut that risk in roughly half.”
The term itself might seem outlandish to many especially those that live in temperate or tropical regions. However, these droughts have happened in the past and their effects have been devastating.
Records tell of Middle Eastern droughts lasting for months and years that people resorted to cannibalism to survive. Some droughts were even blamed for the collapse of ancient civilizations all over the world.
The American Southwest itself is no stranger to drought. The Dust Bowl of the 1930s resulted in mass emigration of people after over-farming caused a severe drought in the region.
Could this predicted megadrought cause the downfall of our present civilization? If the current rate of greenhouse gas production is the culprit, could we do anything to stop it from happening? Let us know what you think in the comments below.