A new study in the US warned that the hot and dry summers experienced in Europe in recent years have led to massive droughts ‘far more severe’ than any other time in the past 2,100 years.
Stating that the recent heatwaves across the continent have great ecological and economic consequences, scientists warned that the situation will worsen if the planet continues to warm.
LIVE AND OAK TREES USED FOR MORE THAN 2 THOUSAND YEARS
An international team led by Cambridge University examined live and dead oak trees for findings that they date back 2,110 years.
Describing the studied objects as ‘chemical fingerprints of European oak trees’, scientists stated that drought conditions have suddenly started to intensify since 2015 compared to previous years.
CAUSE HUMAN-ORIENTED CLIMATE CHANGE AND JET AIR FLOW
“This anomaly is likely a result of human-induced climate change and variables related to jet air flow,” the team explains, “We are all aware that we are in a cluster of extremely hot and dry summers. “and it was hot, but we needed a precise reconstruction of historical conditions to see how these recent extremes compare to previous years,” he said.
Professor Ulf Büntgen, from the Cambridge Department of Geography affiliated with the CzechGlobe Center in Brno, Czech Republic, said: “Our results show that we have experienced an extraordinarily dry period for Central Europe over the past five summers.”
HYDRO-CLIMATE CHANGES IN TREE RINGS EXAMINED
The team said studies examining past epochs were largely limited by temperature, but stable isotopes in tree rings could reveal detailed annual hydroclimate changes, providing greater levels of detail.
Professor Büntgen and his colleagues from the Czech Republic, Germany and Switzerland examined more than 27,000 measurements from carbon and oxygen isotopes from 147 living and dead European oak trees.
EXAMINED UNTIL THE ROMAN EMPIRE
The researchers independently extracted and analyzed carbon and oxygen isotopes for each ring in each tree, enabling them to create the largest and most detailed summer hydro-climatic conditions from Roman times to the present, especially in Central Europe.
“These tree-ring stable isotopes provide us with a much more accurate archive,” said Professor Jan Esper of the University of Mainz in Germany, co-author of the study.
EUROPE HAS BEEN DRYING SLOWLY FOR 2 THOUSAND YEARS
Scientists stated that they saw very rainy summer months in AD 200, 720 and 1100, and very dry summers in AD 40, 590, 950 and 1510, with tree ring isotope data over a period of 2,110 years. he said, though, their results show that Europe has been slowly drying up over the last two thousand years.
The authors of the study reported that the last summer months from 2015 to 2018 were the driest summer months seen, according to the latest samples.