Mar 4, 2016

Spatiotemporal drought variability in the Mediterranean over the last 900 years

Cook, Benjamin I., Anchukaitis, Kevin J., Touchan, Ramzi, Meko, David M., Cook, Edward R.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
  • Analyzes 900 years (1100–2012) of Mediterranean drought variability in the Old World Drought Atlas (OWDA), a spatiotemporal tree ring reconstruction of the June-July-August self-calibrating Palmer Drought Severity Index
  • Finds that events of similar magnitude as recent droughts in the western Mediterranean, Greece, and the Levant occur in the OWDA, but the recent 15 year drought in the Levant (1998–2012) is the driest in the record
  • Uses a resampling approach to estimate uncertainties and concludes that there is an 89% likelihood that this drought is drier than any comparable period of the last 900 years and a 98% likelihood that it is drier than the last 500 years
  • Results confirm the exceptional nature of this drought relative to natural variability in recent centuries, consistent with studies that have found evidence for anthropogenically forced drying in the region