Drought

Climate and the Collapse of the Maya

The study of climate change, and realization that the Holocene, previously considered a period of great climatic stability experienced significant and dramatic disturbances, has occasioned new interdisciplinary study of the Maya, one of North and Central America’s great pre-Colombian civilizations. Scientists, anthropologists, archeologists, and historians have reinvigorated efforts to explain their sudden collapse, which took place from approximately 800-1000 CE in a period known as the Terminal Classic.

Global Food Security

Research published in Science highlights the potentially deleterious effects of climate change on global food security. As defined by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, food security has a number of components.  These include food availability, access and utilization…

Robust direct effect of carbon dioxide on tropical circulation and regional precipitation

Global warming simulations suggest that wet regions (where precipitation exceeds evaporation) will become wetter and dry regions drier by the end of the 21st century (e.g., Held and Soden 2006), with larger contrasts expected between dry and wet seasons (Chou et al., 2013). This ‘rich-get-richer’ behavior is consistent with a large increase in the moisture content of atmosphere, leading to enhanced horizontal moisture fluxes across regions.

Detecting ozone- and greenhouse gas-driven wind trends with observational data

Earth’s climate is characterized by persistent westerly jets (eastward flow) in the upper troposphere, located in the mid-latitudes of the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, which are associated locally with strong weather systems. The location of these jets is of paramount importance to human societies, as these are collocated with maximum in precipitation rates and surface winds in the extratropical regions.

Increase in the range between wet and dry season precipitation

A simple thermodynamic argument suggests that as the water vapor content of the atmosphere increases with global warming dry regions may become drier and wet regions wetter. This enhanced hydrological contrast with global warming can be attributed to changes in the atmospheric water vapor concentration being comparatively larger than those of the moisture advecting winds in the lower atmosphere.

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