Climate Change Study Raises Doubt about Drought
November 16, 2012
A study published this week in the journal Nature argues that a changing climate does not necessarily mean more regions around the world will be affected by drought.
Researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) and Princeton University in New Jersey say many previous studies made predictions about the increased global extent of drought based on an assumption that higher temperatures always mean more drought.
ANU's Michael Roderick, Ph.D., said that overstates the importance of temperature, and doesn't sufficiently account for factors like sunlight, humidity and wind.
"But people didn't have measurements of that at sufficient density, so their formula actually presupposes that drought will increase with temperature," he said. "When we've done the calculations, we don't find that. We find some places where drought has increased, and other places where drought has decreased, but overall there's been very little change in global drought since 1950."