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In the Biblical story of Joseph, following seven years of abundance, the Kingdom of Egypt was confronted by seven years of drought and famine. In the parlance of modern climate science, intervals with several consecutive extremely dry years are described as ‘“megadroughts”. In this short talk, I’ll describe how climate scientists combine clues from natural weather archives (including corals, tree rings, lake sediments, and many other sources) to reveal the history of ancient megadroughts across our planet. And I’ll highlight new research that combines these surrogate drought records with simulations from state-of-the-art climate models to help us better anticipate the risks of unusually persistent droughts during the coming century.