23 November 2005

Global Warming 2050

According to Science News (digesting the November 17th Nature), the consensus results of the best available computer models looking at the impact of global warming on precipitation by 2050 are in:

Most of these models agree that average water flow will decrease in the western United States, the Mediterranean region, the Middle East and southern Africa. Flow increases appear likely in East Africa, central and Southeast Asia, and the northern latitudes of Eurasia and North America, including the eastern United States. . . . "Areas that are already wet are likely to get wetter . . .Areas that are already water stressed are likely to feel it more in the future."

An accompanying map shows the most intense drying centered around Colorado-Nevada-Utah, the Southern tip of South America, Northern Iraq-Eastern Turkey-Northern Iran, and the shores of the Mediterranean. Areas that rely on water from snowmelt are also likely to be particularly hard hit by drying trends. The most intense moistening is centered around Paraguay-Uraguay, Kenya-Tanzania-Rwanda-Burundi, India, Southeast Asia and Indonesia, and Southern Siberia.

Much of Colorado is already marginal for agriculture. As my cousin in Akron, Colorado who is a dryland farmer explained, you grow different crops in different areas based on moisture, and the crops that are grown in Eastern Colorado are the crops that grow in the very last band on cultivation before it is impossible to farm at all. Even a modest drying trend would make horticulture in Eastern Colorado impossible.

My earlier, more Colorado centric post, based on the same study, is found here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Come on Andrew. Making news and creating news are two different things. There is no legitimate way to predict climate changes over the next four to five decades. If that was possible, why do we keep getting surprised by hurricane "seasons" and el nino's? Cyclical climate changes over eons have been evident in geological studies and prove these things have happened before people were ever involved as purpetrators or victims. Please direct your prophecies toward a worthy project - like Creationism!