Severe drought and searing heat that recently allowed wildfires to char much of Australia will oppress wide swathes of the earth with increasing frequency this century, the UN weather agency said, citing a forecast by scientists who met this week in China.
The continental US and Mexico, the Mediterranean basin, parts of northern China, southern Africa and Australia and parts of South America were cited as particularly prone to harsh drought, UN World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said relaying the results of the International Workshop on Drought and Extreme Temperatures.
In addition, severe heat waves are expected to increase everywhere, especially in the continental western US, northern Africa, the Middle East, central Asia, southern Africa and Australia, the agency added.
“The combination of record heat and widespread drought during the past five to ten years over large parts of southern and eastern Australia is without historical precedent and is, at least partly, a result of climate change,” according to a statement endorsed by the scientists at the meeting co-sponsored by WMO.
More than 40 scientists from climate and agricultural research institutes, universities and environmental monitoring organisations participated in the conference.