A drought that began in 1998 in the eastern Mediterranean – including Israel and the West Bank, Cyprus, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey — is likely the worst of the past nine centuries, according to a new study of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The research is part of NASA’s ongoing work to improve the computer models that simulate climate now and in the future. The results have been accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, a publication of the American Geophysical Union.

The scientists reconstructed the Mediterranean’s drought history by studying tree rings as part of an effort to understand the region’s climate and what shifts water to or from the area. Thin rings indicate dry years while thick rings show years when water was plentiful. READ MORE