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A great aridness : climate change and the future of the by William deBuys

By William deBuys

With its hovering azure sky and stark landscapes, the yankee Southwest is likely one of the such a lot hauntingly attractive areas on the earth. but amazing inhabitants progress, mixed with the intensifying results of weather swap, is riding the oasis-based society on the subject of the edge of a Dust-Bowl-scale catastrophe.

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Additional info for A great aridness : climate change and the future of the American southwest

Sample text

So does dust— or, rather, the absence of dust, most of the time—and so does altitude: the higher you go, the bluer the sky. The thread we need to follow here is aridity, and it traces back to the core dynamics that produce the planet’s climate. It leads to laboratories where scientists have undertaken to model global climate and predict its future behavior. What they are learning does not bode well for the North American Southwest, but an understanding of what they have to say may prove vital to the region’s survival.

It is not a happy prospect. In any case, southwesterners who are curious about their climate can glimpse its future in the simplest of ways: they can look south. if you ask Richard Seager, an oceanographer at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, is that the Northern Hemisphere Hadley cell is not expanding as fast as some recent analyses have warned. Those projections, he says, depend upon THE GOOD NEWS, High Blue: The Great Downshift of Dryness 23 comprehensive satellite data, which have been available only since the late 1970s, a brief slice of time.

Another group of researchers has demonstrated that, even apart from albedo dynamics, the high altitudes of the world are warming faster, and to a greater degree, than lower elevations. 7 Overpeck is quick to point out that nearly all the major predictions about climate change in the Southwest concern winter weather. 8 They also include reduced albedo and augmented local warming, and northward migration of the winter storm track. The underlying cause may be not one thing, but several. ” asks Overpeck.

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