Historical study shows elevated aridity in periods of warming
Severe drought in western states in recent years may be linked to climate warming trends, according to new research led by scientists from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University to be posted October 7 on Science magazines website, www.sciencemag.org. This research was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Analyzing aridity in the western U.S. over the past 1,200 years, the study team, which also included scientists from the University of Arizona, University of Arkansas, and NOAA, found evidence suggesting that elevated aridity in the U.S. West may be a natural response to climate warming. "The Western United States is so vulnerable to drought, we thought it was important to understand some of the long-term causes of drought in North America," said lead author Dr. Edward R. Cook of the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatorys tree ring laboratory.
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