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Recent Middle East drought worst in 900 years, says NASA

Recent Middle East drought worst in 900 years, says NASA

A view of a water canal running from the Euphrates river into the semi-desert region of eastern Syria on Nov. 11, 2010. Water shortages and drought in the five years prior had killed 85 per cent of livestock in eastern Syria. (Khaled al-Hariri/Reuters)

The study's lead author Ben Cook said the range of extreme weather events in the eastern Mediterranean has varied widely in the past nine centuries, but the past two decades stand out

"This recent drought falls outside the range of natural variability," he said. Drought has continued in parts of the Middle East, he added

Cook is a climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York City

The researchers used records of tree rings in Northern Africa, Greece, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Turkey, and combined the data with records from Spain, southern France and Italy to examine patterns of drought across time in the region

They studied rings of trees, both living and dead, that were sampled all over the region. Rings in the trunks of trees represent years. Thin rings indicate dry years; thick rings show years when water was abundant

Cook said the research supported other studies indicating human causes of extreme climate events

Last year, researchers at Columbia University and the University of California Santa Barbara found that drought triggered a collapse in agriculture in Syria and the migration of 1.5 million farmers to the cities straining resources

The water shortage was one of several contributing factors that had worsened the situation in Syria in the lead-up to the outbreak of that country's devastating civil war in 2011

Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, said the NASA study is one of several worrying reports about unprecedented climate conditions

Mann was not involved in NASA's study

In an email to The Associated Press, Mann noted that tree rings "have their limitations and uncertainties," but said "the authors have done a reasonable job in assessing the uncertainties."

Recent Middle East drought worst in 900 years, says NASA

A view of a water canal running from the Euphrates river into the semi-desert region of eastern Syria on Nov. 11, 2010. Water shortages and drought in the five years prior had killed 85 per cent of livestock in eastern Syria. (Khaled al-Hariri/Reuters)

The study's lead author Ben Cook said the range of extreme weather events in the eastern Mediterranean has varied widely in the past nine centuries, but the past two decades stand out

"This recent drought falls outside the range of natural variability," he said. Drought has continued in parts of the Middle East, he added

Cook is a climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York City

The researchers used records of tree rings in Northern Africa, Greece, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Turkey, and combined the data with records from Spain, southern France and Italy to examine patterns of drought across time in the region

They studied rings of trees, both living and dead, that were sampled all over the region. Rings in the trunks of trees represent years. Thin rings indicate dry years; thick rings show years when water was abundant

Cook said the research supported other studies indicating human causes of extreme climate events

Last year, researchers at Columbia University and the University of California Santa Barbara found that drought triggered a collapse in agriculture in Syria and the migration of 1.5 million farmers to the cities straining resources

The water shortage was one of several contributing factors that had worsened the situation in Syria in the lead-up to the outbreak of that country's devastating civil war in 2011

Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, said the NASA study is one of several worrying reports about unprecedented climate conditions

Mann was not involved in NASA's study

In an email to The Associated Press, Mann noted that tree rings "have their limitations and uncertainties," but said "the authors have done a reasonable job in assessing the uncertainties."

Hoorvida Manager
2021/08/09
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