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Models predict longer, deeper U.S. droughts

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Science  13 Feb 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6223, pp. 707
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6223.707

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Summary

Severe, decades-long "megadroughts" that hit the southwestern and midwestern United States over the past millennium may be just a preview of droughts to come in the next century as a result of climate change, new research suggests. According to a new analysis of 17 state-of-the-art climate models and reconstructions of historical drought based on 1000 years of tree-ring data, the regions are heading into a period of unprecedented dryness even if CO2 emissions are dramatically reduced. Under a "business-as-usual" emission scenario, there's an 80% likelihood that at least one decades-long megadrought will hit the regions between 2050 and 2100, scientists say.