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Long-Term Aridity Changes in the Western United States | CLIMAS

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Long-Term Aridity Changes in the Western United States

TitleLong-Term Aridity Changes in the Western United States
Publication TypeArticles
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsCook, E, Woodhouse, C, Eakin, C, Meko, D, Stahle, D
JournalScience
Volume306
Issue5698
Pagination1015-1018
Date PublishedNov
ISBN Number0036-8075
Accession NumberISI:000225001100038
Abstract

The western United States is experiencing a severe multiyear drought that is unprecedented in some hydroclimatic records. Using gridded drought reconstructions that cover most of the western United States over the past 1200 years, we show that this drought pales in comparison to an earlier period of elevated aridity and epic drought in AD 900 to 1300, an interval broadly consistent with the Medieval Warm Period. If elevated aridity in the western United States is a natural response to climate warming, then any trend toward warmer temperatures in the future could lead to a serious long-term increase in aridity over western North America.