These Droughts Are the Worst in 900 Years — And Surprise, Surprise Guess Who's to Blame?

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A new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research reveals the Mediterranean has suffered a worse drought in the last 15 years than it has in almost a millennium.

The study uses the Old World Drought Atlas to assess the nature of the region's droughts over centuries. The OWDA reconstructs tree rings with the help of the Palmer Drought Severity Index — specialists use precipitation and temperature data to estimate how much water plants used and how much was in the soil.

Drought in Cyprus, which has suffered severe water shortages. Source: Petros Karadjias/AP
Drought in Cyprus, which has suffered severe water shortages.  Petros Karadjias/AP

The authors conclude "an 89% likelihood that this drought is drier than any comparable period of the last 900 years and a 98% likelihood that it is drier than the last 500 years."

Furthermore, while the results cannot definitively prove humans are to blame, the study says there is sufficient evidence to suggest the droughts are "anthropogenically forced."

And the Mediterranean is certainly not the only region in trouble. Another paper published in October concluded that if humankind does not reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, the Arab world will literally be uninhabitable by the end of the century. 

There is mounting evidence that suggests that if people do not change their habits — and countries do not overhaul their pollution regulation — large swaths of the world will suffer the consequences with subsequent extreme weather patterns. 

The other consequence? More stories like this one. And this one. And this, this and this