Keirman Lake

WMRC Director’s Research on the Eastern Sierra Gains National Press Attention

A study published in Research by Director Glen MacDonald and an international team of scientists has gained national press attention in venues such as the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times and many other print, radio and television outlets.

The research, based on the analysis of the sediments from Kirman Lake in Mono County near Bridgeport shows that past prolonged episodes of global warming produced la Nina – like conditions in the Pacific Ocean and resulted in long periods of drought in California. These arid episodes extended from decades to thousands of years, depending on how long the warming persisted. “Radiative forcing in the past appears to have had catastrophic effects in extending droughts,” said MacDonald, an international authority on drought and climate change. “When you have arid periods that persist for 60 years, as we did in the 12th century, or for millennia, as we did from 6,000 to 1,000 B.C., that’s not really a ‘drought.’ That aridity is the new normal.”