Global warming study: 5-year droughts could become the norm | The Asahi Shimbun: Breaking News, Japan News and Analysis – 朝日新聞デジタル

“Unprecedented” droughts lasting for at least five years will hit several regions around the world by mid-century if nothing is done to curb global warming, an international team of scientists warned.

The researchers from Japan, Europe, the United States and South Korea said measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are needed immediately to delay the beginning of such drought conditions and shorten the duration of the dry spells.

The team included scholars from the University of Tokyo and Japan’s National Institute for Environmental Studies.

Much of the study focused on global data showing changes in river flows from 1861 through 2005.

Prediction models were created for simulations of future trends concerning the annual number of drought days in each of 59 regions of the world.

If greenhouse gas emissions continue to be spewed into the atmosphere like now, unprecedented drought conditions would become the norm, continuing for five years or more, in seven regions, including in the circum-Mediterranean, South America and the Middle East, starting within around 30 years.

Similar dry conditions would hit 18 of the regions by the end of this century.

Droughts could also become more frequent in Japan, including western areas of the country, the scientists said.

“Measures should be taken to cut greenhouse gas emissions to delay droughts becoming the norm,” said team member Yusuke Satoh, a research associate professor with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

“‘Adaptation’ measures to mitigate the negative impact of climate change should also be taken over the next several decades.”

The research results were published in Nature Communications, a British science journal.


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