Water & Climate

Current greenhouse gases could cause more frequent and longer Dust Bowl heatwaves


The 1930s Dust Bowl drought across North America’s Great Plains caused widespread crop failures and large dust storms, but had they been dealing with today’s level of greenhouse gas emissions back then, Australian scientists say things could have been even worse.

The researchers looked at how these 1930s heatwaves would have behaved if they happened now, with present-day greenhouse gas emissions and found that the heatwaves would have been almost five days longer for 1934 conditions, increasing to an extra eight days for the most severe 1936 heatwave.

They also found that under current emissions these one in 100-year events are likely to occur once every 40 years.

Source: University of Southern Queensland, Bureau of Meteorology