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Changes in jet stream, storm tracks, linked to prairie drought patterns

New findings from a Candian study may help experts better predict future drought patterns and water availability in the prairies. The researchers investigated records of drought over the past 2000 years from lake sediments in the northern Canadian prairie region (Manitoba to Alberta), as well as from sites in North Dakota and Minnesota. “Our results from the Canadian prairies show a previously unknown and abrupt shift in climatic conditions around AD 700, while in the northern U.S. prairies, the shift occurred 500 years later, at the onset of the Little Ice Age in North America,” says one of the team’s lead scientists.

Large-scale climate changes occur naturally, new research says

A Canadian researcher has found new evidence that — contrary to previous belief — the past 6,000 years have been marked by large-scale climate changes occurring naturally, on a regular basis. He and his research team have documented four abrupt climate shifts over the past 5,500 years in western Canada, occurring on average every 1,220 years. Until now the last 6,000 years has been considered climatically stable, with the main evidence of large-scale shifts being found in the Greenland ice cores and sediments from the Atlantic Ocean. The team’s findings are reported in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.