by Staff Writers
Exeter UK (SPX) Jul 21, 2017
Fluctuations in sea surface temperature are a factor in causing persistent droughts in North America and around the Mediterranean, new research suggests.
A team from the universities of Exeter, Montpellier and Wageningen analysed data from 1957-2002 and found sea surface temperatures in the North Pacific and North Atlantic became increasingly variable, and extremes lasted for longer.
Ocean temperatures are a major driver of conditions on land, and the researchers showed that the changes they observed correlated with increases in land temperature variability, and persistence of extreme temperatures.
This in turn was associated with persistent droughts in North America and on land around the Mediterranean.
"Our evidence shows that larger and more persistent variations in sea surface temperature have occurred in the North Atlantic and North Pacific and these contributed to more extreme and persistent temperature anomalies on parts of the world's land surface," said Professor Tim Lenton, of the University of Exeter.
The researchers, who systematically scanned monthly temperature data to look for trends, note that such extended periods of high or low temperatures can have an effect "greater than the sum of their parts".
"For instance, a long heatwave can have greater impacts on human mortality than the sum of individual hot days, and multi-year droughts can have greater agricultural economic impacts than the sum of individual dry years," Professor Lenton said.
An ongoing drought in the Eastern Mediterranean, which began in 1998, has been described by NASA as the "worst drought of the past nine centuries" in the region.
There have also been persistent droughts in the south west of North America in recent years, often referred to as the "California Drought".
Warder, Ethiopia (AFP) June 22, 2017
The Somali people of Ethiopia's southeast have a name for the drought that has killed livestock, dried up wells and forced hundreds of thousands into camps: sima, which means "equalised". It's an appropriate name, they say, because this drought has left no person untouched, spared no corner of their arid region. And it has forced 7.8 million people across the whole of Ethiopia to rely on em ... read more
University of Exeter
Climate Science News - Modeling, Mitigation Adaptation
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|