drought Archives - State of the Planet

Researchers Say an 1800s Global Famine Could Happen Again

The Global Famine was one of the worst humanitarian disasters in history, killing as many people as World War II. A new analysis suggests it could happen again, only worse because of climate change.

by |October 12, 2018

Using Tree Ring Records to Decode Earth’s Climate History

An interview with Ed Cook, one of the founding directors of the Tree-Ring Laboratory at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

by |September 27, 2018

How Climate Change Will Alter Our Food

As the world population continues to grow, global demand for food could increase dramatically by 2050. Yet the impacts of climate change threaten to decrease the quantity and quality of our food supplies.

by |July 25, 2018
drought great famine

What Caused the Great Famine?

Scientists are unraveling the driving forces of one of the worst environmental disasters in human history, in hopes of predicting and preparing for the next global drought.

by |December 15, 2017

In Biblical Land, Searching for Droughts Past and Future

Human-influenced climate warming has already reduced rainfall and increased evaporation in the Mideast, worsening water shortages. Up to now, climate scientists had projected that rainfall could decline another 20 percent by 2100. But the Dead Sea cores suggest that things could become much worse, much faster.

by |October 31, 2017

Photo Essay: The Dead Sea, Living Waters and Megadrought

Thousands of years before Biblical times, during a period when temperatures were unusually high, the lands around the Dead Sea now occupied by Israel, Jordan and surrounding nations suffered megadroughts far worse than any recorded by humans. Warming climate now threatens to return such conditions to this already hard-pressed region.

by |October 31, 2017

How Will Climate Change Impact Water Resources?

Richard Seager and Park Williams, climate scientists at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, discuss how water will be affected by warmer temperatures, and how their research increases understanding of these issues.

by |June 6, 2017

Colin Kelley: Food and Water Vulnerability in a Changing Climate

Colin Kelley, an associate research scientist with the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, studies regional climate in vulnerable areas like the Middle East in order to improve our ability to make forecasts, plan ahead and become more resilient to drought and other climate shifts.

by |April 10, 2017

Grasslands More Sensitive to Dryness than Rainfall, Study Says

A new study shows that dryness of the atmosphere affects U.S. grassland productivity more than rainfall does. The findings could have important implications for predicting how plants will respond to warming climate conditions.

by |March 9, 2017

Rising Temperatures Load the Dice for Megadrought Risk

As the American Southwest grows hotter, the risk of severe, long-lasting megadroughts rises, passing 90 percent this century if greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current pace, a new study from scientists at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory says. Aggressively reducing emissions can cut that risk.

by |October 5, 2016