NASA says recent drought in Turkey and eastern Mediterranean worst in 900 years
ISTANBULThe continued drought in the eastern Mediterranean, including the Levant region and Turkey, since 1998 was drier than the worst drought in the past 900 years, a new study by NASA has revealed.
“The recent drought in the Levant region, from 1998 to 2012, stands out as about 50 percent drier than the driest period in the past 500 years, and 10 to 20 percent drier than the worst drought of the past 900 years,” 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.
In compiling the research, scientists studied tree rings in order to understand natural variation in Mediterranean drought occurrence. Thin rings suggested dry years whereas thick rings indicated rainy periods. The data on the rings was obtained from a tree-ring record called the Old World Drought Atlas, in addition to samplings from trees across the region including northern Africa, Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.
The data was also used to differentiate between natural droughts as opposed to droughts that were worsened by human-induced global warming.
“If we look at recent events and we start to see anomalies that are outside this range of natural variability, then we can say with some confidence that it looks like this particular event or this series of events had some kind of human caused climate change contribution,” Cook said.
As part of the story published on its official website, NASA also underlined the gloomy future of the Mediterranean as one of the geographical regions that will dry out due to human-induced global warming.
“The Mediterranean is one of the areas that is unanimously projected [in climate models] as going to dry [out] in the future [due to man-made climate change],” climate scientist Yochanan Kushnir from the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, who did not take part in the research, said to explain the situation.