How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

Click to locate material archived on our website by topic

Eight Centuries of Moisture Extremes in the Eastern USA
Quiring, S.M.  2004.  Growing-season moisture variability in the eastern USA during the last 800 years.  Climate Research 27: 9-17.

Quiring introduces his study by describing the 2001 to 2002 drought in the eastern United States, which by June of 2002 was responsible for anomalously dry conditions along most of the east coast of the country, including severe drought conditions from New Jersey to northern Florida that forced 13 states to ration water.  Then, after the drought began to ease in October of 2002, he notes that anomalously wet conditions persisted for approximately one year, producing, in fact, the wettest growing-season conditions of the entire instrumental record.  These observations, in his words, "raise some interesting questions," including "Are moisture conditions in this region becoming more variable?" - a concept climate alarmists have been trying to foist upon us for years.

What was done
Using an 800-year tree-ring-based reconstruction of the Palmer Hydrological Drought Index, Quiring documented the frequency, severity and duration of growing-season moisture anomalies (both wet and dry events) in the southern mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

What was learned
Among other things, it was determined, in Quiring's words, that "conditions during the 18th century were much wetter than they are today, and the droughts that occurred during the 16th century tended to be both longer and more severe."

What it means
Quiring concludes that "the recent growing-season moisture anomalies that occurred during 2002 and 2003 can only be considered rare events if they are evaluated with respect to the relatively short instrumental record (1895-2003)," for "when compared to the 800-year reconstructed record, neither of these events in particularly unusual."  In addition, he says that "although climate models predict decreases in summer precipitation and significant increases in the frequency and duration of extreme droughts, the data indicate that growing-season moisture conditions during the 20th century (and even the last 19 years) appear to be near normal (well within the range of natural climate variability) when compared to the 800-year record."

Reviewed 8 December 2004