The prolonged period of dry weather in the Middle East continues and it may actually take several generations before it ceases. I'm talking about around 10,000 years fellas.
Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science used two stalagmites aged 128,000 to 73,000 years and 99,000 to 78,000 years to reconstruct historic precipitation amounts. These were collected in the Qal’e Kord Cave in Central Northern Iran and were then taken samples. Stalagmites are calcium carbonate deposits that grow on cave floors and can record changes in the outside environment.
“Local governments generally prefer the narrative that the region is only in a temporary dry spell and better prospects of water availability lay ahead,” said Sevag Mehterian, a Ph.D. student at the UM Rosenstiel School who led the study.
Researchers then used uranium-thorium geochronometry to determine its age and used acids on powder samples from the calcium carbonate deposits to have a look at what the climate was like before.
“We take what we have learned from the past climate and applied it to better understand what to expect moving forward with the current state of the changing global climate,” said Ali Pourmand, an associate professor at the UM Rosenstiel School and co-author of the study.
The researchers found that climate in the Middle East during the last 70 to 130 thousand years ago closely resembles the North Atlantic climate today. By comparing the researchers' results with others, they found that periods of higher energy input from the sun or solar insolation is linked closely with water availability across the mid-latitudes of Eurasia. But the results also show that solar insolation isn't returning to high values until 10,000 years into the future. Which spells grim. That is, we might have to wait for 10,000 years more before we get to break the dry spell.
“Our study has found evidence to the contrary, suggesting that in fact, the future long-term trend based on paleoclimate reconstructions is likely towards diminishing precipitation, with no relief in the form of increased Mediterranean storms, the primary source of annual precipitation to the region, in the foreseeable future,” said Mehterian.
I just hope we won't get to the point where we have to have a huge war over water especially in areas like this.