Climate change

Mediterranean drying

Journal name:
Nature
Volume:
479,
Page:
270
Date published:
DOI:
doi:10.1038/479270a
Published online

Global warming is contributing to a rise in both the magnitude and the frequency of wintertime droughts in the Mediterranean region. Of the 12 driest winters it has experienced since 1902, 10 occurred during the past 20 years.

Martin Hoerling and his colleagues at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado, used precipitation and ocean surface temperature data, along with climate models, to investigate drought conditions dating back to 1902. The team found that climate change can explain roughly half the trend towards drier conditions during this period.

In particular, the team linked wintertime droughts to rising sea surface temperatures in the tropical oceans.

P. ARMESTRE/AFP/GETTY

J. Clim. 10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00296.1 (2011)

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