Arizona is in its 21st year of long-term drought, and experts aren't holding their breath that the winter will suddenly turn around. Dave Meko, research professor at the UA Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, is quoted about research he conducted with Katie Hirschboeck, UA professor of climatology. They studied telltale signs of drought through tree rings dating back to the 1300s.
Katie Hirschboeck's research involves the climatology and hydroclimatology of extreme events—especially floods, paleofloods, and droughts—which she analyzes from the perspective of their meteorological and climatological causes and their long-term variability. She also uses synoptic climatology and dendroclimatology to link tree-ring responses to anomalous atmospheric circulation patterns. Her work is aimed toward a more explicitly defined understanding of interactions between physical processes operating in the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere—specifically climatic variability, flood and drought hydroclimatology, and synoptic dendroclimatology.