Home / Science / People can be held responsible for drought and they will get worse, the study says

People can be held responsible for drought and they will get worse, the study says

This could be very expensive. Every drought costs the United States about $ 9.5 billion, according to government statistics. It is the second most expensive weather disaster behind tropical cyclones. Droughts can increase the cost of food, threaten drinking water, increase the risk of forest fires, cause mass migration and even affect people's health.

The study published in the journal Nature on Wednesday shows that greenhouse gases produced by power plants, agriculture, cars, trains and human activity in general have influenced the risk of drought.

The researchers found that drought increased between 1900 and 1949, decreased between 1950 and 1975, and increased since .

Each of these periods seems to correspond to human activities. The drying trend at the beginning of the 20th century, according to the authors, appears to be related to the increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

The period during which drought periods were lower coincides with increased production of aerosols. Previous studies have found that aerosols can affect rainfall and alter cloud cover, but scientists warn that the link requires more research.
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The authors of the new study also need more research to directly link the project's increase in drought toward the end of the 20th century with increasing greenhouse gas production. They believe that there is a connection but want more evidence.

"The study is the first to emphasize that in addition to direct changes in global and regional temperature and rainfall, global droughts have also been affected by human activity," said co-author Paul Durack, a researcher at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Australian Science Media Center. "This may be bad news for Australia and similar climatic regions like California in the US These regions have recently experienced devastating droughts, and if the projected changes in the model continue, such droughts will become more commonplace in the future."

Researchers found it difficult to estimate the impact of human activity on drought periods. In a few years, one region will be affected by a drought, but in other years, another region will be affected, making it difficult for records to set. Moreover, these records are nowhere near as detailed as the scientists desire to be able to draw any major conclusions .

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The researchers report on the new study Interesting workaround: They used modern models in combination with tree records.

Trees are great weather monitors. The concentric circles inside can be used to determine how old a tree is. Scientists can also look at these rings and determine what the weather was like in a given year.

When the line is wider, the year was warm. Trees do not grow that much in cold and dry times, so the annual rings would be thinner. If the tree is stressed by the weather like in a drought, it may not grow much.

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With Climate Change and the modern age With a rise in greenhouse gas emissions, the authors do not draw a happy future and instead see one in which many droughts occur more.

"The human consequences, especially drying over much of North America and Eurasia, are likely to be severe," the study concludes.

John Quiggin, an employee of the University of Queensland, who deals with climate science topics, would agree.

"This research complements the amount of evidence suggesting that climate change, caused by increased emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, is likely to increase the frequency and severity of droughts," said Quiggin, who was not involved in the new one Research, said in a statement to the Australian Science Media Center. "Without a radical change in climate policy and water management, things will only get worse."

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