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Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences

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Faculty Update: Iris Stewart-Frey

Reduced rainfall in Central American regions

Reduced rainfall in Central American regions

Iris Stewart-Frey gave a presentation on “Recent hydro-climatic shifts over Central America” at the University of Muenster in Germany. Collaborators on this project are Ed Maurer (Civil, Environmental, and Sustainable Engineering, SCU) and SCU student Kenny Joseph. Smallholder farmers across Central America have relied on rain-fed agricultural practices adapted to local precipitation patterns for food and water security. Iris and her colleagues used several global climate data sets to investigate the presence of hydro-climatic shifts in the Central American region for the recent decades. Results indicate substantial spatial variability in recent climatic shifts, but for several important coffee growing regions, the analysis found statistically significant tendencies towards drying by several measures.  The observed trends are consistent with the much larger shifts anticipated with continued climate warming.