The dry climate of the Eastern Mediterranean that has been recorded recently is the most bleak since the past millennium or so.
A NASA study that was conducted recently showed that the drought that began in 1998 in the Mediterranean and Levant region may have been the worst since the past 900 years.
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Such countries as Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Turkey lie within the ambit of this drought. The history of the region was studied by noting down the rings in tree trunks. This was so as to observe the shifting of water in the ecological and climatic conditions of the region.
Thin rings showed that the years were lean years when the water supply was scarce. Thick rings indicated that the water supply during those years was abundant.
The driest years got easily identified via this method. Besides this though the patterns of location of the droughts were also noted down. These gave the researchers a key regarding the region and its climatic conditions.
The reasons behind the drought were also uncovered through this scheme. For one thing, global warming had a major role to play in the genesis of the drought.
This was a part of NASA’s efforts to map the climatic conditions in order to spell out various guidelines for current and future times.
The computer simulations helped immensely in this field of endeavor. We need a more complete and thorough understanding of climate change as well as climatic ups and downs.
"The magnitude and significance of human climate change requires us to really understand the full range of natural climate variability," said Ben Cook, lead author and climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York City.
If we look at present-day trends and notice any strange climatic quirk, we could be sure that it was not caused by natural forces but by man-made interventionism. What else could account for the anomaly in the first place?
The sampling of the rings of trees provided valuable clues regarding the frequency and severity of the regional droughts that took place in the past. The patterns of this phenomenon were carefully tabulated for future analysis.
The study was published in The Journal of Geographical Research-Atmospheres. Between 1100 and 2012, the tree rings showed the droughts to have occurred in those years which matched with historical documents.
Thus the local records corroborated the scientific evidence thereby further strengthening the researchers’ position. The current decade-old drought was much drier than other droughts that had taken place in the region within the time span of the past millennium.
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A further fact that was uncovered included the one about the Western Mediterranean being in drought when the Eastern Mediterranean was in drought. This had to do with the complex climatic patterns of winds, sea and rainfall in the region.