Report: Megadroughts in the common era and the Anthropocene
In recent years, severe droughts have affected many regions around the world, including western North America, Europe, East Africa, and China. In some cases, these events (and others) have been referred to as “megadroughts,” a term increasingly used in the media and scientific literature to refer to almost any extreme or impactful drought event. There is little consensus in the scientific community, however, on when a drought becomes a megadrought, nor is there any quantitative or established definition. A recently published paper by a team of international scientists synthesized information from the paleoclimate record, observations, and climate models to summarize our current understanding of megadrought dynamics around the world, from the last two thousand years to the end of the current century.