Climate change might not be as bad as first thought

Climate change might not be as bad as first thought

A changing climate may not necessarily lead to more floods and droughts according to Swedish researchers who have reconstructed weather patterns over the past 1,200 years.

Scientists used data collected from tree rings, marine sediments, ice cores and mineral deposits to examine the interaction between water and climate in the northern hemisphere over the centuries.

Using this to create a ‘spatial reconstruction of hydroclimate variability’, they found no evidence to support simulations that showed wet regions getting wetter and dry regions drier during the 20th century.

Dr Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist, a medieval historian and palaeoclimatologist at Stockholm University, explains the climate reconstruction showed a prominent seesaw pattern of alternating moisture regimes has been consistent over the past twelve centuries.

Climate anomalies such as medieval ‘megadroughts’ in the western US, and monsoon failures in east Asia during the 15th to 19th centuries, have occurred in this period and are larger than anything recorded with modern instruments.

This strongly suggests that the instrumental period is too short to capture the full range of natural hydroclimate variability‘, he writes in the journal Nature.

Comparing the proxy data with climate models, Dr Ljungqvist reports there is large-scale agreement from the 10th to the 18th centuries, but this breaks down in the 19th and 20th centuries.

He said there are several possible explanations why models may not accurately simulate hydroclimate variability.

‘The proxy evidence does not support the tendency in simulations for wet regions to become wetter and dry regions drier in a warmer climate,’ Dr Ljungqvist explained.

This is in contrast to many existing climate models, which generally show an intensification of the hydrological cycle and more extreme wet and dry spells during the 20th century.

Source: Daily Mail

Date: May 2016

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