NASA

NASA scientists have released a new study showing that climate change is likely to produce "megadroughts" lasting decades across much of central and southwestern North America.

The authors compared historic drought conditions in the area derived from tree ring samples and plugged them into models that assume two different future climate scenarios.

Under both, they found the events "could be drier and longer than anything humans have seen in those regions in the last 1,000 years," because they'll be occurring in a world that is hotter than when these kinds of extreme droughts occurred in the past.

The authors project there is a more than 80 percent probability of multi-decade megadroughts occurring in the southwest, and a 60 percent chance for the plains.

NASA posted a video showing what soil moisture a foot below ground will look like under two scenarios through the end of the century. Brown is drier and blue is wetter than the 20th century average.

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According to both models, Mexico comes out as getting devastated.

Here is "the business as usual" nightmare scenario.

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And here's what it looks like if we can get emissions to peak by 2040. Still not great.

And here they are side by side.

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Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.