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Climate change in the Fertile Crescent and implications of the recent Syrian drought

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, vol. 112 no. 11, pp. 3241–3246

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This paper presents evidence on how the 2007−2010 drought contributed to the conflict in Syria. It was the worst drought in the instrumental record, causing widespread crop failure and a mass migration of farming families to urban centers. Century-long observed trends in precipitation, temperature, and sea-level pressure, supported by climate model results, strongly suggest that anthropogenic forcing has increased the probability of severe and persistent droughts in this region, and made the occurrence of a 3-year drought as severe as that of 2007−2010 2 to 3 times more likely than by natural variability alone.

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Regions and countries