Today, the number of people in the world who are highly vulnerable to drought is enormous and growing rapidly, not only in the developing world but also in densely populated areas such as Arizona, California, and southwestern Asia. Judging from the arid cycles of a thousand years ago, the droughts of a warmer future will become more prolonged and harsher. Even without greenhouse gases, the effects of prolonged droughts would be far more catastrophic today than they were even a century ago
That’s from pg. 238 of Brian Fagan‘s latest book, The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations (2008)—and lacks a closing period, just as reproduced here (oops).
But what I really want to say is that Fagan’s books are far superior to publications by Jared Diamond and other non-archaeologists because of the data he marshals and how he analyzes our human past.
Still, I’d bet that the Great Warming in the title was pushed by the marketing people, because Fagan’s message really is that the changing rainfall patterns, with less precip especially in the central, equatorial latitudes, are what will have the biggest effect on human life—not the warming part, although the two facets of the changing climate are definitely linked….