London: A new study has revealed that due to global warming, this century may suffer from a series of decades-long "megadroughts".
Megadroughts, which are likelier to be hotter and more long-lasting than in the past, would be considerably more frequent as global warming increases temperatures and reduces rainfall in regions already susceptible, the Independent reported.
Experts warned that the droughts could be more severe than the prolonged water shortage currently afflicting California, where residents have resorted to stealing from fire hydrants amid mass crop failures and regular wildfires.
The author Toby Ault claimed that without climate change there would be a 5 to 15 per cent risk of a megadrought in the south-west of the US this century, but with it, the probability jumps to between 20 per cent and 50 per cent, with the southernmost part of the country particularly at risk.
Environmental scientist Jonathan T Overpeck further revealed that the south-west of the US, southern Europe, much of Africa, India, Australia and much of Central and South America could all have a drought that lasts decades.
While the UK is unlikely to suffer its own megadrought, Overpeck warned that Britain could be hit by a megadrought elsewhere, especially in regions it relies on for food, or in zones prone to conflict.
The study will be published in the American Meterological Society's Journal of Climate.