U.S. could be headed for far-reaching megadrought

A Washington Post story reports that the drought that’s been gripping the southwest is relatively minor compared with what could be coming down the pike.

Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey

According to the article, a study by researchers from NASA, Cornell and Columbia universities states that “there is an 80 percent chance” that an extended drought called a megadrought “will strike between 2050 and 2099.” 

The story goes on to say the drought would bring severe water shortages and “monster wildfires in southern Arizona and parts of California.”

Scientists say the drought would begin after 2050 and be the worst in more than 1,000 years.

An interactive graphic accompanying the story shows the drought would have far-reaching implications, and that dry conditions could also have an impact on the east — including Pennsylvania and beyond.

The potential is frightening, but scientists say we could still avert the worst if  “world governments act aggressively to mitigate impacts from climate change.”

It’s not just up to governments, though. Each of us contributes to greenhouse gasses. A renewed focus on the three “Rs” (reducing, reusing and recycling) as well as becoming more aware of and reducing our own carbon footprints  can only help. We can also work harder to conserve water

Read more about the study here, and consider the challenges the next several generations will face unless we act now.