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Long-Term Aridity Changes in the Western United States

1863 PDSI reconstruction. Long-Term Aridity Changes in the Western United States
Science, Vol. 306, No. 5698, pp. 1015-1018, 5 November 2004.

Edward R. Cook1
Connie Woodhouse and C. Mark Eakin2
David M. Meko3
David W. Stahle4

1 Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Palisades, NY 10964
2 NOAA National Climatic Data Center Boulder, CO 80305
3 Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721
4Department of Geosciences University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR 72701
ABSTRACT:
The western United States is experiencing a severe multi-year drought that is unprecedented in some hydroclimatic records. Using gridded drought reconstructions that cover most of the western US over the past 1,200 years, we show that this drought pales in comparison to an earlier period of elevated aridity and epic drought in AD 900-1300, an interval broadly consistent with the "Medieval Warm Period". If elevated aridity in the western US is a natural response to climate warming, then any trend towards warmer temperatures in the future could lead to a serious long-term increase in aridity over western North America.

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To read or view the full study, please visit the Science website.
It was published in Science Vol. 306, No. 5698, pp. 1015-1018, 5 November 2004.

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8 October 2004