Tuesday February 27, 2024


The current Western megadrought is unlike any other dry period the region has experienced over the past 500 years.

That’s according to a new study in which scientists looked at tree rings to track changing temperatures going back to 1553. Researchers found that human-fueled climate change is driving temperatures higher, which makes soil drier and droughts more frequent, intense and widespread.

Karen King, an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and the study’s lead author, said it shows the role of temperature in shaping modern drought.

“We know that extreme heat has consequences,” King said. “We know that drought has consequences. So when they’re compounded together, we can expect that those vulnerabilities are only going to be magnified and the consequences are going to be more wide reaching.”

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