The Past and Future of Climate, People and Drought in the Eastern Mediterranean

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Drought is a major natural hazard in the Eastern Mediterranean, including the Levant and Middle East, with documented impacts on historical and contemporary societies. Further, this region is likely to experience increased drought risk and severity with climate change in the coming century. In this talk, Dr Benjamin Cook will review the main drivers of natural drought variability in the region over the last several thousand years, explain how climate change is already exacerbating drought risk in the region, and detail drought impacts on societies past, present, and future. While drought will likely remain a major challenge for people and ecosystems in the Eastern Mediterranean in coming decades, Benjamin will also discuss strategies and approaches for mitigation and adaptation that may help increase resiliency in the region. About the speaker: Dr Benjamin Cook is a climate scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University in New York City, specializing in the study of drought and climate change. His research is focused on improving the understanding of drought dynamics in the paleoclimate record, during the historical period, and in response to anthropogenic climate change. His textbook, "Drought: An Interdisciplinary Perspective" will be published by Columbia University Press in Spring of 2019. This was a CBRL partner event with the University of East Anglia and UCL Geography.

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