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Extreme droughts will spread, warn forecasters

Mass migrations of climate refugees predicted; Met Office experts blame greenhouse gas emissions

Source:  Copyright 2006, Guardian
Date:  October 3, 2006
Byline:  Ian Sample
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Nearly a third of the world's land surface may be at risk of extreme drought by the end of the century, wreaking havoc on farmland and water resources and leading to mass migrations of "environmental refugees", climate experts warned yesterday.

Predictions based on historical trends in rainfall and surface temperatures dating back to the 1950s reveal that regions blighted by moderate droughts are set to double by the end of the century, with tentative data suggesting areas struck by extreme droughts may soar from 1% today to 30% in 2100.

The most striking impact is expected in parts of southern Europe, North Africa, western Eurasia and the US, whilst regions of central Africa, east Asia and the high northern latitudes are due to experience wetter climates.

Researchers at the Met Office's Hadley Centre announced the findings at a "climate clinic" fringe meeting of scientists, which is running alongside the ...

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