Opinion An international alliance of climate scientists says that contrary to the general perception, and despite widely-reported rises in global temperature towards the end of the 20th century, there has in fact been no measurable increase in droughts over the past 60 years.
Writing in heavyweight boffinry journal Nature, the team from America's Princeton and the Australian National University have this to say:
Here we show that the previously reported increase in global drought is overestimated because [the current method] uses a simplified model of potential evaporation that responds only to changes in temperature and thus responds incorrectly to global warming in recent decades. More realistic calculations, based on the underlying physical principles that take into account changes in available energy, humidity and wind speed, suggest that there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years.
This flies directly counter to the most recent formal assessment by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007, which says:
More intense and longer droughts have been observed over wider areas since the 1970s
However the IPCC 2007 report has been found to be wildly alarmist in many respects since being published and many of its other doom-laden predictions have already been debunked (for instance that the Himalayan glaciers would all be gone by 2035, and that the Amazon jungle will soon catch fire and disappear).
Other boffins have lately stated for other reasons that climate science predicts too much drought. With this week's new Nature paper it would seem that still another IPCC doom warning has lost any claim to being supported by a scientific consensus. ®