More scare stories: Warming Climate May Spread Drying to a Third of Earth, Says Study

Heat, Not Just Rainfall, Plays into New Projections

The U.S. corn belt and many other regions around the world may be at greater risk of drought by 2100 as warmer temperatures wring more moisture from the soil.

The U.S. corn belt and many other regions around the world may be at greater risk of drought by 2100 as warmer temperatures wring more moisture from the soil. (Cathy Haglund, Flickr)

Increasing heat is expected to extend dry conditions to far more farmland and cities by the end of the century than changes in rainfall alone, says a new study. Much of the concern about future drought under global warming has focused on rainfall projections, but higher evaporation rates may also play an important role as warmer temperatures wring more moisture from the soil, even in some places where rainfall is forecasted to increase, say the researchers.

The study is one of the first to use the latest climate simulations to model the effects of both changing rainfall and evaporation rates on future drought. Published this month in the journal Climate Dynamics, the study estimates that 12 percent of land will be subject to drought by 2100 through rainfall changes alone; but the drying will spread to 30 percent of land if higher evaporation rates from the added energy and humidity in the atmosphere is considered.

An increase in evaporative drying means that even regions expected to get more rain, including important wheat, corn and rice belts in the western United States and southeastern China, will be at risk of drought. The study excludes Antarctica.

“We know from basic physics that warmer temperatures will help to dry things out,” said the study’s lead author, Benjamin Cook, a climate scientist with joint appointments at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “Even if precipitation changes in the future are uncertain, there are good reasons to be concerned about water resources.”

In its latest climate report, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that soil moisture is expected to decline globally and that already dry regions will be at greater risk of agricultural drought. The IPCC also predicts a strong chance of soil moisture drying in the Mediterranean, southwestern United States and southern African regions, consistent with the Climate Dynamics study.

Using two drought metric formulations, the study authors analyze projections of both rainfall and evaporative demand from the collection of climate model simulations completed for the IPCC’s 2013 climate report. Both metrics agree that increased evaporative drying will probably tip marginally wet regions at mid-latitudes like the U.S. Great Plains and a swath of southeastern China into aridity. If precipitation were the only consideration, these great agricultural centers would not be considered at risk of drought. The researchers also say that dry zones in Central America, the Amazon and southern Africa will grow larger. In Europe, the summer aridity of Greece, Turkey, Italy and Spain is expected to extend farther north into continental Europe.

“For agriculture, the moisture balance in the soil is what really matters,” said study coauthor Jason Smerdon, a climate scientist at Lamont-Doherty. “If rain increases slightly but temperatures also increase, drought is a potential consequence.”

Today, while bad weather periodically lowers crop yields in some places, other regions are typically able to compensate to avert food shortages. In the warmer weather of the future, however, crops in multiple regions could wither simultaneously, the authors suggest. “Food-price shocks could become far more common,” said study coauthor Richard Seager, a climate scientist at Lamont-Doherty. Large cities, especially in arid regions, will need to carefully manage their water supplies, he added.

The study builds on an emerging body of research looking at how evaporative demand influences hydroclimate. “It confirms something we’ve suspected for a long time,” said Toby Ault, a climate scientist at Cornell University, who was not involved in the study. “Temperature alone can make drought more widespread. Studies like this give us a few new powerful tools to plan for and adapt to climate change.”

Rainfall changes do not tell the whole story, agrees University of New South Wales researcher Steven Sherwood, in a recent Perspectives piece in the leading journal Science. “Many regions will get more rain, but it appears that few will get enough to keep pace with the growing evaporative demand.”

The authors have made all their data and calculations public available on a supplementary website.


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“The study is one of the first to use the latest climate simulations to model the effects…” Oh, another model. That’s all right then.


You have to twist yourself into a pretzel to understand that more rain means more drought.and warming causes cooling.


It’s known the MWP was warmer than it is now. Surely the weather of the time was
reasonably well documented, along with crop yields, floods, droughts and all those
other cool things global warming is supposed to cause …
Why isn’t the historical record being closely scrutinised?


Hmm…I see it all more clearly…
More wet/dry/hot/cold/drought/flood/night/day/VC and bar…..That and our cheeldren just won’t know what snow is either.
Oh God, the polar bears too……….
I get to say “It’s even worse” first….

Martin A

“The study is one of the first to use the latest climate simulations to model the effects of both changing rainfall and evaporation rates on future drought. “
As someone said, the output of an unvalidated model is an illustration of somebody’s hypothesis; it is not observational data. Regarding runs of unvalidated computer models as ‘experiments’ seems to be one of the characteristics of so called ‘climate science’ that is not regarded as acceptable in other fields.
Even if models can reproduce past climate, this is not (as is often claimed) validation of such models. It is the fallacy, recognized at least since early 1970’s in research on pattern recognition systems, of ‘testing on the training data’. If a model could not successfully reproduce past climate then it would obviously be a complete failure. However, reproducing past climate does not confirm the correctness of the model and its ability to predict future climate reliably – notwithstanding such claims by the UK Met Office.
I can produce a simple spreadsheet model that reproduces past climate with complete accuracy but which has no capability whatever of predicting future climate.


P.S. ……………..
“First, I asked Stephen Belcher, the head of the Met Office Hadley Centre, whether the recent extended winter was related to global warming. Shaking his famous “ghost stick”, and fingering his trademark necklace of sharks’ teeth and mammoth bones, the loin-clothed Belcher blew smoke into a conch, and replied,
“Here come de heap big warmy. Bigtime warmy warmy. Is big big hot. Plenty big warm burny hot. Hot! Hot hot! But now not hot. Not hot now. De hot come go, come go. Now Is Coldy Coldy. Is ice. Hot den cold. Frreeeezy ice til hot again. Den de rain. It faaaalllll. Make pasty.”
For me this is consistently the funniest pi**-take I have ever seen over many years now….
I also would like to draw attention to the little little caption under the main pic…..Icing on the cake.


“The study is one of the first to use the latest climate simulations”
Rubbish in, Rubbish out…

charles nelson

It is April fools day…

Alan Robertson

Admad says:
April 1, 2014 at 12:49 am
“The study is one of the first to use the latest climate simulations to model the effects…” Oh, another model. That’s all right then.
Beat me to it.

Pastor Lank

I like the ‘fire’ burning on the horizon in the US corn belt picture at the top.
Clearly this is what we are to expect when denialists are met with the wrath of the climate gods for not taking seriously the teachings of the climate model bible.
We must pay penance and bow down before the lords of the IPCC.

Reblogged this on We have no Secrets and commented:
Third of the earth? How does one human fathom? Impossible to truly know.


I dont know why they keep talking about what will happen in the warming world, temperatures are not going up!


use the latest climate simulations
Oh. Never mind.


Is this an April Fool’s joke?


If the surface evaporation increases, won’t that just draw more water from the subsurface?

R. de Haan

Bring it on, I have a lot of laundry to dry.

David L.

Sad had the new IPCC has gotten everyone panicked about the future a again. I see a lot of chatter amoung my friends and elsewhere that we are all doomed. Yet nobody is talking about selling their cars and having the power company shut off their electric, so deep down they mustn’t really believe it, mustn’t care, or think it’s someone else’s problem.

son of mulder

So the land will dry out more quickly than the extra rain falls. How does that work? Will there be an ever growing lake in the sky. I always thought what goes up must come down.

R. de Haan

That remark trashes the entire report.
When will they ever learn that climate models and simulations at this stage have nothing to do with the real world.
We’re recycling BS again. I’m getting bored.

Alan the Brit

At the ever present risk of becoming an utter bore……………………Pocket Oxford English Dictionary, 1925:Simulate/Simulation, feign, pretend, to have or to feel, wear the guise or act the part of, counterfeit, having the appearance of, shadowy likeness or mere pretence of unreal thing! Don’t shoot the messenger, I didn’t use the words, they did!!!!!! Just saying. 🙂 AtB. (BTW, how are you Colonials getting along without us? Doing ok? Muddling through?)


BNenjamin’s basic physics seems not to include the laws of thermodynamics. Funny that.


Why should warm be dry ?

( :
“Similarly, long-term trends (1925–2003) of hydrologic droughts based on model derived soil moisture and runoff show that droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U.S. over the last century (Andreadis and Lettenmaier, 2006). The main exception is the Southwest and parts of the interior of the West, where increased temperature has led to rising drought trends (Groisman et al., 2004; Andreadis and Lettenmaier, 2006).”
Hasegawa et al. 2013., Drastic shrinking of the Hadley circulation during the mid-Cretaceous Supergreenhouse ( In this work it was found that as a result of a strong warming, instead of Hadley circulation has developed Farrell circulation – a warm temperate climate zone – with dominant maritime climate (in this climate the number of areas with periodic and constant drought, drastically decreases).
( Jaramillo (2010, – 28 coauthors): “Temperatures in tropical regions are estimated to have increased by 3° to 5°C, compared with Late Paleocene values, during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM, 56.3 million years ago) event.”
“There is no evidence for enhanced aridity in the northern Neotropics. The tropical rainforest was able to persist under elevated temperatures and high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, in contrast to SPECULATIONS that tropical ecosystems were severely compromised by heat stress.”
“We know from basic physics that warmer temperatures will help to dry things out (…)”
– again we can clearly notice that the atmosphere physicists know very little about climate change …

John M

I wonder if they ran the model to predict conditions during the Jurassic period ?
ie: inputs of CO2 = 3000ppm, Temp = 22 Deg C.

Andy Hurley

Killing 2 birds with one stone:- Desalination plants ,thousands of the buggers on coast lines everywhere ,water transported to dry areas .
Over (a very long) period of time , sea levels fall and more arable land is produced ,deserts turned into gardens.
Should it ever become necessary I am pretty sure that man can adapt to just about anything ,well apart from being bored to death by warmista ballerinas doing the dying swan.


The world’s surface has warmed since the LIA. We have had the ‘fastest rate of warming evahhhhh!’ and ‘unprecedented heat and all that!. So what have we OBSERVED during THIS ‘experiment’?

Abstract – 28 June 2013
Randall J. Donohue et al
Impact of CO2 fertilization on maximum foliage cover across the globe’s warm, arid environments
Satellite observations reveal a greening of the globe over recent decades. The role in this greening of the “CO2 fertilization” effect—the enhancement of photosynthesis due to rising CO2 levels—is yet to be established. The direct CO2 effect on vegetation should be most clearly expressed in warm, arid environments where water is the dominant limit to vegetation growth. Using gas exchange theory, we predict that the 14% increase in atmospheric CO2 (1982–2010) led to a 5 to 10% increase in green foliage cover in warm, arid environments. Satellite observations, analyzed to remove the effect of variations in precipitation, show that cover across these environments has increased by 11%. Our results confirm that the anticipated CO2 fertilization effect is occurring alongside ongoing anthropogenic perturbations to the carbon cycle and that the fertilization effect is now a significant land surface process.
Geophysical Research Letters – Volume 40, Issue 12, pages 3031–3035
Abstract – 16 October 2012
Changes in the variability of global land precipitation
Fubao Sun et al
[1] In our warming climate there is a general expectation that the variability of precipitation (P) will increase at daily, monthly and inter-annual timescales. Here we analyse observations of monthlyP (1940–2009) over the global land surface using a new theoretical framework that can distinguish changes in global Pvariance between space and time. We report a near-zero temporal trend in global meanP. Unexpectedly we found a reduction in global land P variance over space and time that was due to a redistribution, where, on average, the dry became wetter while wet became drier. Changes in the P variance were not related to variations in temperature. Instead, the largest changes in P variance were generally found in regions having the largest aerosol emissions. Our results combined with recent modelling studies lead us to speculate that aerosol loading has played a key role in changing the variability of P.
Geophysical Research Letters – Volume 39, Issue 19
DOI: 10.1029/2012GL053369
Letter To Nature – 11 September 2012
Justin Sheffield et al
Little change in global drought over the past 60 years
…….Previous assessments of historic changes in drought over the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries indicate that this may already be happening globally. In particular, calculations of the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) show a decrease in moisture globally since the 1970s with a commensurate increase in the area in drought that is attributed, in part, to global warming4, 5……..Here we show that the previously reported increase in global drought is overestimated because the PDSI uses a simplified model of potential evaporation7 that responds only to changes in temperature and thus responds incorrectly to global warming in recent decades. More realistic calculations, based on the underlying physical principles8 that take into account changes in available energy, humidity and wind speed, suggest that there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years. The results have implications for how we interpret the impact of global warming on the hydrological cycle and its extremes, and may help to explain why palaeoclimate drought reconstructions based on tree-ring data diverge from the PDSI-based drought record in recent years9, 10.
Abstract April 2013
Alexander Loew
Terrestrial satellite records for climate studies: how long is long enough? A test case for the Sahel
Satellite-based observations provide a unique data record to study the Earth system. Recent efforts of the space agencies to reprocess the archives of satellite observations aim to provide Essential Climate Variable (ECV) data records for manifold applications in climate sciences. ……………………….As an example, the Sahelian drought and the subsequent recovery in precipitation and vegetation will be analyzed in detail using observations of precipitation, surface albedo, vegetation index, as well as ocean indices. The paper provides a different perspective on the robustness of long-term satellite observations than previous studies. It shows in particular that the long-term significant trends in precipitation and vegetation dynamics are rather sensitive to the investigation period chosen and that small data gaps can already have a considerable influence on the analysis results. It is therefore a plea for continuous climate observations from space.
Theoretical and Applied Climatology
Doi: 10.1007/s00704-013-0880-6


It must be April’s fool as even the CAGW are not so silly. Above article:
“the study estimates that 12 percent of land will be subject to drought by 2100 through rainfall changes alone; but the drying will spread to 30 percent of land if higher evaporation rates from the added energy and humidity in the atmosphere is considered.”
“Deserts actually make up 33%, or 1/3rd of the land’s surface area.”
Read more:
So if drying spreads to 30% land, we would less desert area in future, than we have currently.
And of course with irrigation, deserts can be good places to grow crops- ie, California.
Deserts aren’t problem but rather it is idiots that are against building dams which is the problem.

D. Cohen

When glaciers covered much of the Northern Hemisphere during the last ice age (approximately 15 thousand years ago) areas of desert were larger and drier than they are today. This makes sense, since much more or the earth’s water supply was locked up in the ice sheets. During the Holocene optimum (approximately 5000 years ago) when the earth’s climate was warmer than today, large parts of what is now the Sahara desert was covered with shallow lakes and grasslands. That also makes sense, since the polar areas were covered by less ice than today, which means there was more water unlocked and circulating in the atmosphere. So, here we have two data points — much colder in the past, more desert; warmer in the past, less desert. You’d think by this point that even your typical science journalist with even a nodding acquaintance to what the earth’s climate history was over the last 15000 years could see how mistaken this study is.

Every day is April Fools day with the alarmists.


“According to NASA, ‘Between 1982 and 1999, 25 percent of the Earth’s vegetated area experienced increasing plant productivity—a total increase of about 6 percent,’ says Ramakrishna Nemani, the [NASA] study’s lead scientist.” — from a 2003 NASA article, “Global Garden Gets Greener”
What happened between 1982 and 1999? Why, just about all of the warming we’ve experienced to this point. So while — yet again — actual observations show one thing, the warmies get out a model that shows the exact opposite and claim it as the truth.
Do they ever look out the window to see if it’s raining or not?

Bill Illis

They will need to explain how the math works here. It’s usually my default position because it often explains the basic facts and logic better than anything else.
In this case, water vapor cycles through the atmosphere each 9 days. If water evaporates from a surface somewhere, on average it will rain out somewhere else 9 days later.
The climate models project that warming will increase water vapor levels by 23% by the year 2100. That means rainfall is also going to increase by 23% (or maybe only 22% if the 9 days changes to 9.1 days in a warmer world).
If rainfall is going to increase by 22%, how can any place on the planet end up dryer? I’m sure one can contort themselves into thinking there will be more droughts but it is not accurate. It is completely inconsistent with what the theory is about.
The last time the Earth was 1.0 degree warmer, the Saharra had trees and lakes. The last time it was 2.0C warmer, 10 million years ago, there was so much rainfall, that the entire planet was forested with virtually no desert or grassland.
It’s not a real science. It’s a religious-type movement.


all these cries of doom and yet one of the biggest problems in the west is obesity and wastage of food thrown away and for the future a population that will hit 9 billion half or this being African, there stories of doom are so disjointed.
There is nothing today that has not happened in the last 2000 years but lots has happened that has not happened in the last 100 years.
No1 100 -150 year droughts over the last 1000 years.

Richards in Vancouver

The story carefully states that the study excluded Antarctica where, as we all know, there will be vast new areas of virgin farmland.
I suspect some Aussies staked out a bunch last Christmas.

M Seward

But, but I thought more moisture in the air was the big positive feedback that turned the extra CO2 GH effect into the CAGW supercharged death killer gas mix.
This is just getting toooo confusing.
Its like Occupy Global Warming. Lots of light and movement but no science just the science communications industry twerking for the msm.

… Warming Climate May Spread Drying to a Third of Earth, Says Study
Warming – WHAT WARMING!!??
Seeing single digit temps in the Dakotas this morning, and teens in Minnesota, and Montana, and as far south as Nebraska! … Warming my you-know-what!

Vince Causey

By 2100 the only thing certain is that people will look back at all this and laugh at how silly we were.
People imagined droughts spreading around the world, crops withering while temperatures soar, they will laugh. As it turned out, it was the exact opposite. A slightly warmer world has given us a little more precipitation and together with the higher co2 concentrations, arid regions have greened, vegetation is abundant and crop yields have continued to increase.


Worth seeing what is really going on with the Sun, because it is unusual in the scale of the known measurements.


AFRICA, warmth and drying?

There have been major changes in climate and in the composition and distribution of forest during the last 8 Myr. During the last world glacial maximum (peak 18 000 yr B.P.) the climate was dry and cold and forest much reduced and fragmented. The last glacial period as a whole (12 000–70 000 B.P.) was dry in tropical Africa and so too were most of the other 20 major ice ages which have occurred since 2.43 Myr B.P., in comparison with intervening interglacials…..
The Aquatic Civilization of Middle Africa*
J. E. G. Suttona1
a1 Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
Between the ninth and third millennia B.C. wetter conditions prevailed over most of Africa. Lakes and rivers were fuller and some of the internal basins were temporarily linked, especially in the ‘Middle African’ belt. This comprises the southern Sahara and Sahel, stretching from the Upper Niger to the Middle Nile, with a south-easterly extension into the Upper Nile basin and the East African rift valleys. This situation was exploited by people who developed a decidedly aquatic economy and culture. From their waterside camps and settlements archaeologists have recovered bones of fish and aquatic animals which these people ate, as well as the distinctive harpoon-heads carved from bone with which they obtained them, and also pottery, bearing peculiar decoration executed with fish-bones and water-shells, made in imitation of (fishing-) baskets. Boating and other cultural developments are deducible…….
Neolithic Settlement Patterns in Saharan Africa

Bill H

Their dynamic inter-cell interactions are screwed up. They have their pressure gradients and flows backwards. Water content in the air is static and an averaged number used thus the model is not dynamic to the heat and water relationship.
This is nothing more than a “tweaked” linear model. The model appears to be intentionally designed to go upward, period!
One word sums it up; Garbage!

re: jones says April 1, 2014 at 1:10 am
… “Here come de heap big warmy. Bigtime warmy warmy. Is big big hot. Plenty big warm burny hot. Hot! Hot hot! … ”
Very funny piece; thanks for sharing!

These arnt studies. You should stop calling them that. Scientific studies require empirical evidence. These are more akin to fictional short-stories.


Hmm… 70% of the Earth is covered by water. That is more than 2 thirds! If the remainder dries up we are doomed!


As the magnetic current solar activity correlates with forecasts NASA? Where are the paralyzing magnetic storms?



Holocene climate change in arid Australia from speleothem and alluvial records
New high-resolution MC-ICPMS U/Th ages and C and O isotopic analyses from a Holocene speleothem in arid south-central Australia provide evidence for increased effective precipitation (EP) relative to present at c. 11.5 ka and c. 8—5 ka, peak moisture at 7—6 ka, and onset of an arid climate similar to present by c. 5 ka. δ18O and δ13C time-series data exhibit marked (>+1‰) contemporaneous excursions over base-line values of −5.3‰ and −11.0‰, respectively, suggesting pronounced moisture variability during the early middle Holocene ‘climatic optimum’. Optically stimulated luminescence and 14C ages from nearby terraced aggradational alluvial deposits indicate a paucity of large floods in the Late Pleistocene and at least five large flood events in the last c. 6 kyr, interpreted to mark an increased frequency of extreme rainfall events in the middle Holocene despite overall reduced EP……….


Such was the magnetic activity in September 2005.

Ian M.

In the “silver lining” dept.:
I started playing golf in 2004 and as I became aware of the El Nino cycles of the 1990’s I wished I’d started a decade earlier. Having seen the last couple of years and the projections based on observations I’m thinking “Dang! I’ll be playing golf – outside – about two months of the year and driving my motorcycle maybe three!”
But this report, oh sure it’s April Fool’s day and what an April Fool’s day it is in Halifax with freezing rain, ice and snow…, but this report gives me hope. A vapor perhaps, ephemeral maybe, but I could be playing golf all year round – with waaay bigger bunkers mind you – but hey that little white ball doesn’t care and neither will I.
Okay, back to reality and maybe a second morning cup of coffee. …as you were.


“the drying will spread to 30 percent of land if higher evaporation rates from the added energy and humidity in the atmosphere is considered.”???
Pardon my physics, but HIGHER humidity means LOWER evaporation rates!

re: ren says April 1, 2014 at 5:01 am
… Where are the paralyzing magnetic storms?
Do you work in the power generation, transmission or distribution industry?

chris moffatt

Whoever chose the cornfield picture at the top of this post obviously is following the Al Gore policy of threat-by-carefully-chosen-photo but is obviously totally unable to tell the difference between a cornfield recently harvested and a cornfield ravaged by drought.


“It confirms something we’ve suspected for a long time,”
That the answer came before the model is no surprise but “confirms,” how does that work?