Carson Scholar Luke Parsons – Aired 3/17/14
Luke is a Geosciences PhD student studying the duration and frequency of drought and monsoons. His research focuses on reconstructing past drought using lake sediments. Luke also tests the ability of climate models to accurately reproduce past precipitation. Read on for the content of this segment: Although we are accustomed to long periods without rain here in the Southwest, other regions in the world, such as the Amazon rainforest, depend on rainfall throughout the entire year. Yet, recently this tropical rainfall has not arrived as regularly: “once in a century” droughts hit the Amazon twice in the last decade. Droughts this severe cause long-term harm to the forest and make the Amazon, which is a major carbon sink, more vulnerable to fire. What causes these severe changes in rainfall in South America? How will future climate change affect the Amazon, and should we expect “once in century” droughts to be common in the future?