Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wind changes caused by humans are drying the US Southwest

Planetsave.com: Since the late 1970’s, the winter storm track located above the western US has slowly been sliding north. The combination of global warming and the ozone hole have forced this change, making for fewer winter storms in the American Southwest. And according to new research from the University of Arizona in Tucson, the hotter and drier springs being inflicted upon Southern California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, western Colorado and western New Mexico, are a direct result of the poleward shifting storm track.

“We used to have this season from October to April where we had a chance for a storm,” said Stephanie A. McAfee, a doctoral candidate in the UA’s department of geosciences. “Now it’s from October to March.”

“When you pull the storm track north, it takes the storms with it,” said McAfee. “During the period it’s raining less, it also tends to be warmer than it used to be. We’re starting to see the impacts of climate change in the late winter and early spring, particularly in the Southwest. It’s a season-specific kind of drought.”...

The Painted Desert in Arizona, shot by Jon Sullivan, who has generously released the image into the public domain via Wikimedia Commons. Thank you, Jon

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