In the 1930s, the United States was suffering from the most severe drought in its history, the “Dust Bowl.”
And be prepared to bite the dust once again, because scientists think the Dust Bowl is coming back for a second round. And this time for decades.
The Dust Bowl was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the American and Canadian prairies during the 1930s. The drought came in three waves, 1934, 1936, and 1939–1940, but some regions of the high plains experienced drought conditions for as many as eight years. Pretty bad, no?
Well, according to Cornell University Professor Toby Ault, the Southwest United States typically experience a severe drought once or twice a century.
The Dust Bowl was followed up by a less intense but still pretty bad drought in the ’50s, and now we’re overdue for the next Big Dry One.
The chances of this multi-decade drought striking the American Southwest within the next century are upwards of 80 percent, and it will “make the megadroughts seem like quaint walks through the Garden of Eden.”
And, by the way, it will last 35 years. Yes almost 4 decades! an you imagine that?
So what does a Dust Bowl look like?
According to University of Arizona professor Jonathan Overpeck, there are two possibilities: either a “warm megadrought” or a “searing megadrought.”
A searing megadrought basically turns the country into a Mad Max prequel. “Toxic dust storms could rage across the region, making driving extremely dangerous. The vast majority of trees in the region would die. Agriculture would become all but impossible.“
There will be massive water shortages across the west of the country and monster wildfires will devastate states like California and Arizona.
Farmers would have to give up on thirsty crops such as corn and wheat and grow more drought-friendly crops like nuts instead.
A warm megadrought could “probably be endured,” with some big trade-offs.
So, yeah, another Dust Bowl is going to rumble through the American West and nobody is aware of it… So get ready for the Big Dry One!