U.S. Southwest Drought Could Be Start of New Dust Bowl

The unprecedented drought that has gripped the southwestern United States isn’t almost over, researchers say, it may have only just begun.

That’s the consensus of all but 1 of the 19 climate models used as the basis for this week’s upcoming report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), according to a new analysis.

Richard Seager, a senior research scientist with the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, and co-authors report their findings today in the online advance version of the journal Science.

Based on the climate models, the U.S. Southwest and parts of northern Mexico could become as arid as the North American Dust Bowl conditions of the 1930s, the study authors report.

“If these models are correct, the levels of aridity of the recent multiyear drought [will] become the new climatology of the American Southwest,” the team writes.

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