From: University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science
Published July 11, 2017 10:39 AM

Stalagmites from Iranian Cave Foretell Grim Future for Middle East Climate

Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science used two stalagmites from an Iranian cave to reconstruct the existing water resources in the Middle East over 130,000 years ago.

The results, which include information during the last glacial and interglacial periods, showed that relief from the current dry spell across the interior of the Middle East is unlikely within the next 10,000 years.

“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 the study’s lead author Sevag Mehterian, a Ph.D. student at the UM Rosenstiel School. “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.”

Stalagmites are calcium carbonate deposits that slowly grow on cave floors and, under the right circumstances, record changes in the climate outside the cave in their chemical composition.

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