The worst in the last 900 years is the drought in the Eastern Mediterranean

CE91 16 News, Europe
The drought in the wider Eastern Mediterranean region, which began in 1998 and continues to this day, is likely to be the worst in 900 years, according to a new US scientific study.

CE91 96 News, Europe

The drought-stricken region includes Cyprus, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and parts of Turkey.

Researchers at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University in New York at the Lamond-Dohert Geospatial Observatory, led by climatologist Ben Cook, publish the journal in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

The scientists based their estimates mainly on the study of tree rings, living and dead. The relevant data - which also concern Greece - are included in the so-called "Atlas of the Old World Drought". The elements from the trees were combined with descriptions of the climate from the historical texts.

The lack or abundance of water in an area affects the growth of trees over time. The thinner the rings, the greater the drought.

According to new estimates, the drought after 1998 in the Levante region is about 50% more severe than the driest period of the last 500 years and 10 to 20% drier than the worst drought of the previous 900 years.

The researchers also found that the northern Mediterranean (Greece, Italy, southern France, southern Spain) tends to be dry when northeastern Africa is wet - and vice versa.

Drought fluctuations in the Mediterranean are related to the climate of the Atlantic. From time to time, prolonged streams of hot and dry air enter the Mediterranean basin, resulting in reduced rainfall, rising temperatures and, ultimately, drought.

All climatic models estimate that the future of the Mediterranean, especially in the east, is dry. And the new study shows that the drought in the Levante is the harbinger of those who will follow.

Source: RES-EAP