'Hot Drought' Unprecedented Across Western North America Since the 16th Century, Study Suggests

The State of the Planet
January 24, 2024

Reconstructions of summer temperatures across western North America spanning the past 500 years suggest that concurrent heat and drought conditions, known as “hot drought,” have been unprecedented in frequency and severity over the past century. The findings are derived from tree-ring chronologies that show how changing temperatures relate to changes in soil moisture. They add to growing evidence that human-influenced warming has exacerbated climate extremes across the region.

The study, by researchers at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and other institutions, was just published in the journal Science Advances.

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