The blip was the region’s 20th century wetness.
At the height of the drought that gripped the southeastern United States between 2005 and 2007, the water level of the massive reservoir that provides Atlanta’s drinking water dropped 14 feet below normal.
The dry spell intensified an ongoing legal battle among Georgia, Florida and Alabama over fresh water supplied by the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, which runs through the three states.
But a new study suggests things could have been far worse.
Climate records gleaned from tree rings show the recent drought pales in comparison to droughts that hit the region in the 17th and 18th centuries. In fact, the research suggests that the 20th century stands out as an unusually wet blip in the 350-year history reconstructed using those tree rings.
“This is a reminder of what could happen,” said the study’s lead author, Neil Pederson, a forest ecologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory… [Emphasis added]