As per the reports of NASA, the 1934s dust bowl drought was the worst ever to hit North America in the past millennium. The researchers stated that the 1930s America was inundated by several droughts that destroyed farms and killed sheathes of livestock. The entire millennium was marked by extreme temperatures, erosion and dust storms, exacerbating the economic meltdown of the Great Depression.
In the recent study named, ‘The worst North American drought year of the last millennium’, the NASA’s researchers together with Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory renovated the history of droughts in the United States with the help of contemporary practices and tree-ring records from the years 1000 to 2005.
The team found that the 1934’s dust bowl drought covered more than 71% of western North America and was 30% severer than the next worst, which struck in 1580.
Ben Cook, study lead author and a climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York stated, “It was the worst by a large margin, falling pretty far outside the normal range of variability that we see in the record.” He further stated that, a high-pressure system during the west coast’s winter that kept raining at bay, combined with poor land management practices, led to dust storms in the spring.
As per the 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “Climate change will continue to strengthen the possibilities of strong droughts in North America.”
The scientists are searching for hints from the past events and also concerned that fossil fuels continue to burn at an exceptional rate along with fracking. These will fan the flames of climate change and can lead to mega-droughts lasting up to 30 years.
As compared to the 1934’s Dust Bowl impact, the newest dry spell in California is said to be comparatively mild. Though, the drought is likely to continue till 2015, researchers added.