Even though the Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest might be sitting pretty in the next five decades or so of climate change, the same won't be true of the U.S. Southwest, where another dust bowl is looking more and more likely.
According to a new study in the Journal of Climate (per Reuters), the risks are high for semi-arid areas of the West, with chances of a drought lasting ten years or more in the Southwest now at 80 percent.
Under normal conditions, droughts of several decades or more come to the region once or twice in a millennium, but climate change has made a lengthy megadrought much more imminent.
One ominous scenario puts the chance of a drought in the United States lasting more than 35 years at 20 to 50 percent.
The burden of drought will also fall heavily on subtropical countries in the developing world, including across the Mediterranean, western and southern Africa and Latin America.
"Risks throughout the subtropics appear as high or higher than our estimates for the U.S. Southwest," researchers wrote.
Previous megadroughts are believed to have caused the collapse of once strong civilisations, including Khmer empire of Southeast Asia, which fell into chaos in the 14th century.
The U.S. dust bowl of the 1930s, caused by roughly a decade of drought, forced a mass migration away from parched fields and worsened the Great Depression.
If we take into account the larger region of Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico, the current drought is a 15-year drought, as Pop Science notes, and a megadrought would probably impact Texas as well.
Point taken: Buy property in Anchorage, sell property in Phoenix.