Well, as much as we’d like to avoid, here we are to talk about climate change again. Still a growing concern, climate change is going to lead (it has already started) to long-term damages to the planet. The on-going droughts taking place in several places around the world are primarily a cause of climate change, and despite clear evidence of its detrimental effects, 40% of the United States population doesn’t believe in it.
But this article isn’t about climate change in general, nor is it about why people don’t believe in a scientifically proven fact – we’ve talked about those subjects in length before. Instead, we’re here today to talk about how NASA claims eastern Mediterranean drought to be worst in 900 years.
Tree rings and draught
The current drought in the Middle East has been going on since 1998. Although that isn’t strange in and of itself, especially for the region, there were other things that struck researchers as being odd about the event. So, in a study released by NASA, a team of scientists investigated the strange drought.
Using the International Tree Ring Data Bank, a database that puts together a complete view of a region’s trees by collecting hundreds of records from the area, the team of researchers used the ring patterns to compile a record spanning centuries that would help them identify relevant patterns.
With their records spanning centuries, as well as multiple countries like Algeria, Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Spain, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey, the scientists determined that the drought was indeed man-made in origin. And there is a simple explanation of how the NASA team discerned that.
Mostly, it was due to the fact that tree rings showed them that this current drought is far drier than any other drought in the last 900 years. This undoubtedly speaks of a human element. According to the lead researcher on the project, the findings are pretty much a smoking gun for climate change.
Middle Eastern strife
Further looking into the subject, the team concluded that the drought and water shortages seen in the area are likely a prime reason for the civil unrest that’s been ravaging the Middle East recently. As many as 1.5 million people had to relocate due to water shortages and poor water management, leading to the 2011 Syrian civil war.
Though some countries like Israel are adapting to the drought via various procedures like desalination, other, poorer countries are only seeing an increase in their level of unrest. It’s not that the drought condition started the civil unrest, but it most definitely helped exacerbate it.
Image source: Wikimedia