Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New evidence of drought-prone pasts may foretell New York’s and Atlanta’s futures

22.03.2011
New York City and Atlanta have both experienced droughts in the past few decades that required them to implement water restrictions and conservation measures.

However, a new study of tree-ring data spanning the past 400 years indicates that droughts in those cities and their surrounding regions were typically longer and more frequent centuries ago than they were for most of the 20th century.

In addition, recent decades have brought longer drought cycles similar to those prevalent before the mid-1800s. A return to drought patterns of past centuries, the study’s authors say, could seriously strain the water resources of both of those densely populated regions.

“We can handle two to three-year droughts, but if three and four and five-year droughts are possible, we’re not prepared,” says Neil Pederson, a research professor with the Tree Ring Laboratory at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, which created the new tree-ring drought records. He adds that the familiar scene in the western U.S. of fights and lawsuits over water “is starting to play out here in the East.”

By the fall of 2007, during the second year of a three-year drought, Atlanta had roughly three month’s supply of water remaining while Athens, Georgia, was down to approximately 50 days. Another drought dramatically lowered New York City reservoirs to 33 percent of capacity in 1981. A return to historic climate patterns would bring more frequent and prolonged droughts, Pederson says.

He and his graduate students collected tree cores from several species of trees in the Atlanta and New York regions that have lived as long 500 years. The team included additional species that are not usually sampled for drought records, including tulip poplar and hickory, to help better account for annual variability and give a more accurate picture of the wet and dry periods in these regions. It usually takes at least 18 different tree cores to get a statistically accurate drought record in each forest, Pederson says, and being able to draw on additional tree species helps them find more very old trees that can provide additional data.

The cores show that there were three severe droughts in the 1700s in the southern Appalachian region that were soon followed by regional die-offs of trees with about 8 to 10 percent of the trees being lost.

Today, “these relatively minor droughts are setting off water conservation measures and draining reservoirs. That’s the scary thing,” given that longer droughts that may lie ahead, he says.

Pederson will present the findings on March 22 at a conference here on “Climates, Past Landscapes, and Civilizations.” The conference, organized by the American Geophysical Union, has brought together nearly 100 scientists to discuss the latest research findings in archeology, paleoclimatology, paleoecology, and other fields that reveal how changes in regional and global climate have impacted the development and fates of societies.

To read the abstract of this presentation, please use this search engine: http://agu-cc11cp.abstractcentral.com/itin.jsp. Click on Search, type Pederson in the Author/Presenter field and click on the orange Search button at the bottom.

Contact information for the author:
Neil Pederson: phone: +1 (845) 519-5479, Email: adk@ldeo.columbia.edu

Kathleen O’Neil | American Geophysical Union
Further information:
http://www.agu.org
http://agu-cc11cp.abstractcentral.com/itin.jsp

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Study relating to materials testing Detecting damages in non-magnetic steel through magnetism
23.07.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern

nachricht Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Biosensor allows real-time oxygen monitoring for 'organs-on-a-chip'

21.08.2018 | Medical Engineering

Researchers discover link between magnetic field strength and temperature

21.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

IHP technology ready for space flights

21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>