People, Environment

Future of Mideast Climate Grim

Researchers say water availability is linked with enhanced solar insolation across the mid-latitudes of Eurasia.Researchers say water availability is linked with enhanced solar insolation across the mid-latitudes of Eurasia.

Results from a study on stalagmites in Iran show that relief from the current dry spell across the Middle East is unlikely within the next 10,000 years.

Sevag Mehterian, lead author of the study and a PhD student at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School in the US, said, "Local governments generally prefer the narrative that the region is only in a temporary dry spell and better prospects of water availability lay ahead," a report on the university's website read.

"Our study has found evidence to the contrary, suggesting that in fact, the future long-term trend based on paleoclimate reconstructions is likely towards diminishing precipitation, with no relief in the form of increased Mediterranean storms, the primary source of annual precipitation to the region, in the foreseeable future."

Stalagmites are calcium carbonate deposits that slowly grow on cave floors and, under the right circumstances, record changes in the climate outside the cave in their chemical composition.

"We take what we have learned from the past climate and applied it to better understand what to expect moving forward with the current state of the changing global climate," said study co-author Ali Pourmand, an associate professor of marine geosciences at the UM Rosenstiel School.

The researchers found that climate during the last 70,000 to 130,000 years, including during the last interglacial as recorded in the interior of the Middle East, is closely linked to the climate of the North Atlantic region.  By comparing their findings with others, they saw a close connection between water availability and enhanced solar insolation across the mid-latitudes of Eurasia. The study showed that solar insolation is not returning to high values relative to today until another 10,000 years from now.

The study, titled "Speleothem records of glacial/interglacial climate from Iran forewarn of future water availability in the interior of the Middle East," has been published in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews.


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