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  • WBOY 12 News

    WVU researcher studying western US ‘megadrought’

    By McKenna Galloway,

    28 days ago

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — As the western United States continues to face its worst drought in 1,200 years, one West Virginia University researcher is hoping to learn more about this “extreme climate event.”

    As explained in a press release from WVU , the megadrought is “an ongoing climate crisis for natural ecosystems, agricultural systems and human water resources.” Despite this drought taking place for the past 23 years, researchers do not have much information about the phenomenon. Assistant professor of biology Steve Kannenberg is looking to change that.

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    “Historically, megadroughts are a rare, rare thing,” Kannenberg said. “But there have been a number of them throughout time, and they’re going to get more frequent and more severe in the future.”

    During his research, Kannenberg aims to discover where the drought has been most severe. He will also collect data to see which dryland plants have been affected by the lack of water and pair data collected from tree rings with soil moisture, groundwater and ecosystem flux measurements, as well as how the lack of water affects a plant’s ability to capture carbon.

    Kannenberg’s research is funded by the National Science Foundation funding from the Ecosystem Science Cluster and and the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.

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