NYT July 19, 1994: BEGINNING about 1,100 years ago, what is now California baked in two droughts, the first lasting 220 years and the second 140 years. Each was much more intense than the mere six-year dry spells that afflict modern California from time to time, new studies of past climates show. The findings suggest, in fact, that relatively wet periods like the 20th century have been the exception rather than the rule in California for at least the last 3,500 years, and that mega-droughts are likely to recur. ...
Dr. Stine, who reported his findings last month in the British journal Nature, says that California, like Tiwanaku, presents “a classic case of people building themselves beyond the carrying capacity of the land,” which is determined not by wet times but by dry ones. “What we’ve done in California is fail to recognize that there are lean times ahead,” said Dr. Stine, “and they are a lot leaner than anything we’ve come up against” in the modern era.
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