Shocking Forecast: A Century-Long Megadrought


Last weekend we were sitting on our balcony, enjoying appetizers with friends, when the sky darkened and a wind fiercer than any we have experienced in the interior of British Columbia sent us inside. We dashed back out to rescue the flying chairs and table before they could crash through the glass doors.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada’s (IBC) new study warns Canadians “the frequency and severity of severe weather is on the rise,” and we had better prepare for it. “Telling the Weather Story” confirms the recent landslides, fires and drought are becoming the new norm.

Another study, this one published by Nature Geoscience, confirms the prediction. A team of Canadian and American scientists studied the drought of 2000 to 2004 and found it was the worst since the one that lasted from 1146 to 1151. They warn a “megadrought” could parch the planet through the entire 21st century.

Insurers have been hit hard by the impacts of catastrophic events. IBC reports insured losses internationally reached $10 billion to $50 billion a year over the past decade and exceeding $100 billion in 2011. In Canada alone insurers were on the hook for roughly $1.6 billion in 2011 and close to $1 billion annually in the previous two years. Aging infrastructure contributed to the losses, as older sewer systems are unable to handle the increased precipitation.

Next: Adaptation Strategies Are Urgent Need

In our region alone, landslides, fires, floods, storms and small tornadoes have changed from rare to frequent occurrences. According to CBC News the West Kootenay area has already shelled out $2 million in emergency repairs in 2012, five times the usual tally.

IBC advises governments, communities and individual home and business owners to “make targeted decisions about how to adapt existing public and private impacts to manage the risks associated with these events.” The City of Vancouver is one municipality taking the warnings seriously. Their “Climate Change Adaptation Strategy” includes plans for such things as green transportation, green buildings, sustainable energy, and urban agriculture.

Those trying to implement adaptation plans face roadblocks and challenges. Columnist Jon Ferry of Vancouver’s Province newspaper sniped at the Vancouver plan with a dismissive, “Climate change is so yesterday’s news.”

It is indeed yesterday’s news – and tomorrow’s and next year’s. Fortunately, the ostriches are gradually getting their tails burned and are bringing their heads up long enough to feel the heat. Unfortunately, a lot of them still hold powerful positions where they continue to erect barriers to thoughtful action.

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Photo credits: Thinkstock


Terry Vanderbush
Terry V.3 years ago

We are murdering our planet, thus ourselves.

Remember to vote in November

Nyack Clancy
Nyack Clancy3 years ago

@ Vladimir M., although
no- this what is happening now is not a "natural cycle"- it is happening too quickly climate change does, indeed, occur. Over 10's of thousands of years- not in one century.

"as you can, the next year it' s all bad for you.It all depends on who is paing for the study! it's all the natural cycles of the planet...cold cold..."

Let do a little earth science for you. Global warming will lead to an ice age. Which is why you will see first extreme hot.. and then cold. Because? It melts the glaciers and the cold water gets into the conveyer belt of the ocean and circulates around the planet- cooling the overall temperature of the ocean, and eventually, an ice age.

Kinda like what happens when you drop ice cubes into a glass of room temperature water. It cools the overall temperature of the water as the ice melts.

And by the way- "MEGA drought and aging infrastructure can't handle the extra precipitacion."

It can't. That is why there are MEGA floods.

Vladimir M.
Vladimir M.3 years ago

I absolutely agree with Bryan S. A huge contadiction in one small article! MEGA drought and aging infrastructure can't handle the extra precipitacion. Wha a load of crap! and by the the 70ties they were talking about cooling down of the planet. One year you should eat as, eggs,..... you can, the next year it' s all bad for you.It all depends on who is paing for the study! it's all the natural cycles of the planet...cold cold...
I just can' t swalow the incredible arrogance of these people . insignificant ,pitiful weak humanity changing the way this planet works.

Leia P.
Leia P.3 years ago

so sad

Grace Adams
Grace Adams3 years ago

Several huge sea water desalination projects and plumbing to pipe the water where needed would help the drought part of the problem. We also need to get organized to collect what rain we do get, even when it is two years worth in one hour. And we need to be able to cope with high winds, like hurricanes and tornadoes.

Giana Peranio-paz

Let's hope it's not to late.

Phillipa W.
Phillipa W.3 years ago

I just hope it isn't already too late

june t.
june t.3 years ago

The Republicans will want to "study" it some more...

Nyack Clancy
Nyack Clancy3 years ago

@Nyack C - 25 years? I learned about global warming in Earth Science 101 at Illinois State University in 1972. It was a big agricultural school and the teacher had a crew cut. It wasn't controversial back then.

Yes, that's right- and the Dust Bowl of the 1930's was well accepted as sound science.

I guess when a Democrat such as Al Gore attempts to address the problems as he did in his documentary "An Inconvenient Truth"- it becomes a scam?

The only "SHOCK" would be for Republicans to admit that Al Gore was 100% correct.

Grace S.
Past Member 3 years ago

Not shocking, just a plan going well in Monsanto’s eyes for he holds the future in GMO seeds we all must become dependent on him..........or can We change the future somehow????

Along with pollution, the earth is shifting and the magnetic poles are causing much change in our patterns as I have come to understand it, but I will not put off the fact that the government is experimenting with weather as a weapon because if they can pull off the weather devastating other countries there will be no repercussions on the US and like always we can just "Blame the weather."

Governments have been exploring weather manipulation as a military tactic for years now right alongside of chemical weapons.....some say that a man-made earthquake at the Nuclear Reactors at Fukushima was the cause and more are heading this way in California.

Sounds far-fetched? With billions of dollars going to the military where do you think most is spent? Do you believe with something that makes so much sense as to the climate change in the US, the governments and big corporations ignore Mother Nature and do nothing...for what reason?

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