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North America facing 'megadrought'?

Aug 2

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8/2/2012 9:48 AM  RssIcon

Drought over western North America from 800 to 2100.Western North America experienced the strongest drought in 800 years from 2000 to 2004 – but that may be the new normal for the next century. Reduction in carbon uptake during turn of the century drought in western North America – pg 551 – 556, by a group of 10 researchers in the current issue of Nature Geoscience, looks at the reduced carbon uptake (by 51%) in drought stressed forests, based on a study of the 2000-2004 drought throughout western North America.

"Climatic extremes such as this will cause more large-scale droughts and forest mortality, and the ability of vegetation to sequester carbon is going to decline," study co-author Beverly Law of Oregon State University said in UPI’s story.

“Climate models predict that 80 out of the next 95 years will be just as dry as the 2000-2004 drought period,” according to KUOW’s story on this.

In a similar story, Environment America, released its report "When it Rains, it Pours: Global Warming and the Increase in Extreme Precipitation from 1948 to 2011" on Tuesday, which states extreme rain and snowstorms are more common. Reviewing data from some 65 years of weather history, they see a 30% increase in extreme storm frequency. Counter intuitively this doesn't conflict with the other report of more droughts: the storms appear at other locatins and times of the year unfortunately. News of this comes from CBS News too.

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