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Modelling a 21st Century 'dustbowl'

US scientists have modelled how a 1930s-like "dustbowl" drought might impact American agriculture today, and found it to be just as damaging.

But the research shows the effects to be very sensitive to temperature, meaning the potential losses would be far worse later this century if Earth's climate heats up as expected.

A repeat of 1930s weather today would lead to a 40% loss in maize production.

In a 2-degree warmer world, it becomes a 65% reduction, the team projects.

Joshua Elliott, from the University of Chicago's Computation Institute, spoke with our correspondent Jonathan Amos.

  • 13 Feb 2016