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Changing Azores High And Drying Iberian Region Linked To Anthropogenic Climate Change


A recent study co-led by WHOI found that the Azores High ridge has expanded dramatically in the past century, resulting from a warming climate due to a rise in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations. Researchers associated with the study collect data inside the Buraca Gloriosa cave in western Portugal, a site of the stalagmite hydroclimate proxy record. Image credit: Diana Thatcher/ © Iowa State University Projected changes in wintertime precipitation make agriculture in the Iberian region some of the most vulnerable in Europe, according to a new study that links the changes to increased anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

These changes in precipitation are tied to a subtropical high-pressure system known as the Azores High that is more often significantly larger in the industrial era (since 1850 CE) than in preindustrial times, according to the paper, Twentieth Century Azores High Expansion Unprecedented in the Last 1200 Years, published in Nature Geoscience . The extremely large Azores Highs, which extend over the eastern subtropical North Atlantic and Europe during winter, result in anomalously dry conditions across the western Mediterranean, including the Iberian Peninsula.

The Azores High “has changed dramatically in the past century,” and “these changes in North Atlantic climate are unprecedented within the last […]

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