Dec 13, 2017: The Thomas wildfire burns above Romero Canyon Califormia in this social media photo .

Dec 13, 2017: The Thomas wildfire burns above Romero Canyon, California, in this social media photo. Droughts and heatwaves have increased fires around the world in recent years. A new report says it’s likely to get worse if global warming isn’t limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius
Photo Credit: Courtesy Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via Reuters

Global warming, drier world

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More drought, more wildfires coming with global warming

The news stories of severe and unusual drought and of massive wildfires around the world have been increasing in recent years.

Canada, Australia, Greece, South Africa, the U.S southwest and California, and Chile are among countries and regions affected by massive unprecedented wildfires made much worse by unusual droughts and extended heatwaves.

In this Jan. 11, 2016 photo, a fisherman walks along the abandoned boats in the dried up Lake Poopo, on the outskirts of the town of Untavi, Bolivia
In this Jan. 11, 2016 photo, a fisherman walks along the abandoned boats in the dried up Lake Poopo, on the outskirts of the town of Untavi, Bolivia © Juan Karita/The Associated Press

A new international study published in the journal Nature: Climate Change, (abstract HERE) says up to a quarter of the Earth’s surface will become much drier if global temperature averages increase by 2 degrees Celsius.

Drought severity has been increasing across the Mediterranean, southern Africa and the eastern coast of Australia over the course of the 20th century, while semi-arid areas of Mexico, Brazil, southern Africa and Australia have encountered desertification for some time as the world has warmed. study lead author Chang-Eui Park of SUSTech
Oct, 11, 1986, left, and almost dry on Jan. 16, 2016, right, in Bolivia. The lake has been dried twice in the past and recovered, but scientists say as the Andean glaciers feeding the lake disappear, and human activity diverts water, the lake may never recover this time.
This photo combo of satellite images provided by the USGS shows Lake Poopo filled with water on Oct, 11, 1986, left, and almost dry on Jan. 16, 2016, right, in Bolivia. The lake has been dried twice in the past and recovered, but scientists say as the Andean glaciers feeding the lake disappear, and human activity diverts water, the lake may never recover this time. © USGS via AP

Researchers from  the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) in Shenzhen China and Britains University of East Anglia studied projections from 27 global climate models to identify the areas of the world where aridity will substantially change when compared to the year-to-year variations they experience now.

Aridification is a serious threat because it can critically impact areas such as agriculture, water quality, and biodiversity,”  lead author Chang-Eui Park of  SUSTech
SUSTechThe massive fire that destroyed a large portion of the Alberta town of Fort McMurray was just one example of what might come with increased global warming resulting in an increase in arid conditions
The massive fire that destroyed a large portion of the Alberta town of Fort McMurray was just one example of what might come with increased global warming resulting in an increase in arid conditions © Terry Reith-CBC

Since the industrial age, the Earth has warmed by about 1-degree Celsius and has already been cited for increased droughts and desertification in a wide belt around the world from Brazil to Australia, southern Europe, the southwestern U.S, and Mediterranean.

This should be a bright yellow field of mustard plants. In 2015 Alberta declared an *agricultural disaster* due to drought. Drought is often followed by flooding as dried earth is unable to quickly absorb heavy rains, another feature of changing climate
This should be a bright yellow field of mustard plants. In 2015 Alberta declared an *agricultural disaster* due to drought. Drought is often followed by flooding as dried earth is unable to absorb heavy rains, another feature of changing climate ©  Agriculture Financial Services Corporation-via Radio-Canada

The report said that if the current average increase of about 1 degree C can be limited to 1.5 degrees, then both the extent and degree of aridity would be reduced from their 2-degree projections.

February 12, 2015. Average global temperatures lwere a record 1.35 degree Celsius (2.4 Fahrenheit) above normal for February. The western hemisphere’s biggest city, Sao Paulo region nearly ran out of water for its over 20-million residents.
Paula, 7, poses with her horse on the cracked ground of Atibainha dam, part of the Cantareira reservoir, in Nazare Paulista, near Sao Paulo, Brazil, February 12, 2015. Average global temperatures lwere a record 1.35 degree Celsius (2.4 Fahrenheit) above normal for February. The western hemisphere’s biggest city, Sao Paulo region nearly ran out of water for its over 20-million residents. © REUTERS/Nacho Doce

The Paris climate accord seeks to limit emissions and global warming to 2-degree C, with a preferred target of limiting warming to 1.5-degrees C.

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One comment on “Global warming, drier world
  1. ursula wagner says:

    The warning, the prognosis I heard many years ago, that there will be wars about water supply, does not seem unthinkable anymore.