Thursday, March 30, 2017

Dead Sea Warns of Unprecedented Drought

A 30-meter layer of salt discovered beneath the Dead Sea reveals drought worse than any in human history – and it could happen again.

Tristramits survey the Dead Sea, the deepest saline lake in the world. (Image Credit: Yair Aronshtam via Flickr) Click to Enlarge.
Far below the Dead Sea, between Israel, Jordan and Palestinian territory, researchers have found evidence of a drought that has no precedent in human experience.

From depths of 300 meters below the landlocked basin, drillers brought to the surface a core that contained 30 meters of thick, crystalline salt:  evidence that 120,000 years ago, and again about 10,000 years ago, rainfall had been only about one fifth of modern levels.

Climate change
The cause in each case would have been entirely natural.  But, in the region where human civilization began, already in the grip of its worst drought for 900 years, it is a reminder of how bad things could get, and, less certainly, a guide to how much worse human-induced climate change could become.

“All the observations show this region is one of those most affected by modern climate change, and it’s predicted to get dryer.  What we showed is that even under natural conditions, it can become much drier than predicted by any of our models,” says Yael Kiro, a geochemist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in the US.

Read more at Dead Sea Warns of Unprecedented Drought

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