Study: Human activity produces drought

May 17, 2006

Columbia University scientists have linked recent water shortages in the northeastern United States with human activities.

Researchers at The Earth Institute say the recent water emergencies in some northeastern states resulted from more than just dry weather. They found droughts had a more direct, human cause called demand-driven drought.

A recent study, conducted by Bradfield Lyon of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Nicholas Christie-Blick of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Yekaterina Gluzberg from the university's Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, examined precipitation variability and drought in Rockland County, N.Y., over the last 100 years.

The scientists discovered factors such as development, population growth and failing water supply systems played as significant a role as climate in creating the water emergencies.

"The balance between water demand and supply is now so finely tuned that even a few months of lower than normal precipitation is sufficient to trigger an emergency," said Christie-Blick.

The research appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Vietnam rice boom heaping pressure on farmers, environment

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The first space walk happened 50 years ago, and nearly ended in disaster

Mar 18, 2015

It is 50 years since humans first encountered space – not Sputnik's first orbit, nor Yuri Gagarin's first spaceflight – but the first time a crew member stepped out from their spacecraft's relative protection and immersed themselves in the cold, hostile emptiness of the vacuum. ...

Light as puppeteer

Mar 18, 2015

Researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) have demonstrated a more robust method for controlling single, micron-sized particles with light.

Recommended for you

Lights out in Australia as Earth Hour kicks off

Mar 28, 2015

The Sydney Harbour Bridge and the sails on the nearby Opera House went dark Saturday, as lights on landmarks around Australia were switched off for the global climate change awareness campaign Earth Hour.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.