Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Droughts Worse Than The 1930's Likely In The Twenty-First Century

Date:
February 11, 2000
Source:
Queen's University
Summary:
Dramatic research by two Queen's University biologists and a scientist from the University of Ghent suggests that the world's supply of fresh water could plummet causing drought-induced famine, political unrest and large-scale migration worldwide.

Dramatic research by two Queen's University biologists and a scientist from the University of Ghent suggests that the world's supply of fresh water could plummet causing drought-induced famine, political unrest and large-scale migration worldwide.

The research, which will appear in the January 27th edition of Nature, proves for the first time that extreme fluctuations in the earth's water-resources during the last millennium occurred naturally in Eastern Africa. Mounting scientific evidence now suggests that large changes in climatic conditions have occurred across the globe over the last millennium and could reoccur independent of human-induced global-warming.

The existence of extreme, global climate changes provides a clue to the future, says Dr. Brian Cumming, a biologist with Queen's Paleoecological Environmental Assessment & Research Laboratory (PEARL). "Our research clearly indicates that we should be prepared for naturally-occurring, extreme climate changes that will provoke water shortages in the future," says Dr. Cumming, who co-authored the study with Queen's biologist Kathleen Laird and University of Ghent biologist Dirk Verschuren.

The research, which was conducted on Lake Naivasha in Kenya, shows that during the past 1,100 years extreme changes in water availability occurred many times in East Africa, sometimes producing major droughts lasting hundreds of years. The study mirrors previous studies in North America, the caribbean and Europe and confirms not only that extreme variations in climate exist, but that these large-scale weather patterns may have occurred on a global scale (like the medieval warm period from 1,000 to 1,200 AD).

Now intent on identifying the trigger for extreme climate shifts affecting water supplies in the past, the researchers speculate about the impact of current, human-induced global warming. "Our concern is that human industrialization could be a trigger for extreme climate changes on a global scale in the future, " Cumming says.

Researchers do know that if a global climate shift occurred - whether natural or human-induced - it would be overwhelming and could even precipitate large-scale migrations. The study reveals a direct correlation between scarce water-resources in Kenya during the last millennium and economic, political and social devastation.

Perhaps most alarming is the revelation that East Africa has enjoyed a relatively high level of water availability during the past 800 years (with three episodes of water shortages much more severe than the 1930's Dust Bowl). Consequently, development and population growth during the past centuries increased during the periods of abundant water resources. "So, if an extreme climate changes does occur in the future it could create widespread devastation," says Cumming.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen's University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Queen's University. "Droughts Worse Than The 1930's Likely In The Twenty-First Century." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/02/000211083523.htm>.
Queen's University. (2000, February 11). Droughts Worse Than The 1930's Likely In The Twenty-First Century. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/02/000211083523.htm
Queen's University. "Droughts Worse Than The 1930's Likely In The Twenty-First Century." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/02/000211083523.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Powerful Hurricane Gonzalo Heads to Bermuda

Raw: Powerful Hurricane Gonzalo Heads to Bermuda

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) Hurricane Gonzalo pounded Bermuda with wind and heavy surf on Friday, bearing down on the tiny British territory as a powerful Category 3 storm that could raise coastal seas as much as 10 feet. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
So, Kangaroos Didn't Always Hop

So, Kangaroos Didn't Always Hop

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) Researchers believe an extinct kangaroo species weighed 500 pounds or more and couldn't hop. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Gonzalo Is A Category 4 And Heading To Bermuda

Hurricane Gonzalo Is A Category 4 And Heading To Bermuda

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) Powerful hurricane could hit Bermuda this weekend, and even if it misses it will likely do some damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Largest Volcano In Centuries Is Spewing Toxic Gas

The Largest Volcano In Centuries Is Spewing Toxic Gas

Newsy (Oct. 16, 2014) One of the largest volcanic eruptions in centuries is occurring on Iceland. The volcano Bardarbunga is producing high levels of sulfur dioxide. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins