Extreme drought will spread widely over coming century, report predicts

Millions of lives will be endangered by droughts affecting half of the planet’s land surface by 2100, top British climate scientists predict in a study to be published in the Journal of Hydrometeorology. And on nearly a third of the land surface, that drought could be extreme, rendering agriculture virtually impossible. That’s compared to only 1 to 3 percent of the earth’s landmass that is currently under extreme drought. “This is genuinely terrifying,” says Andrew Pendleton of Christian Aid. Even more terrifying: the researchers say their predictions may be an underestimate, as they don’t take into account the effects of global warming on the earth’s carbon cycle. “There’s almost no aspect of life in the developing countries that these predictions don’t undermine — the ability to grow food, the ability to have a safe sanitation system, the availability of water,” says Andrew Simms, an expert on the effects of climate change on developing countries. Is it time to wake up yet?