Friday, June 25, 2010

Researchers call for 'no-regrets' approach to climate warming

Stephanie Doster, Institute of the Environment at the University of Arizona: Two prominent climate experts, including one from the University of Arizona, are calling for a "no-regrets" strategy for planning for a hotter and drier western North America. Their advice: use water conservatively and continue developing ways to harness energy from the sun, wind and Earth.

Jonathan Overpeck, principal investigator with the Climate Assessment for the Southwest at the UA, and Bradley Udall, director of the Western Water Assessment at the University of Colorado, write in the June 25 issue of the journal Science that such an approach is necessary for coping with a wide range of projected future climate changes in the West and Southwest.

In their overview of shifting climate in the region, Overpeck and Udall cite published findings of prevalent signs of change: rising temperatures, earlier snowmelt, northward-shifting winter storms, increasing precipitation intensity and flooding, record-setting drought, plummeting Colorado River reservoir storage, widespread vegetation mortality and more large wildfires.

"The West, and especially the Southwest, is leading the nation in climate change – warming, drying, less late-winter snowpack and drought – as well as the impacts of this change," said Overpeck, a UA professor of geosciences and atmospheric sciences and co-director of the Institute of the Environment….

Map of the observed difference between the average annual U.S. temperatures (degrees F) for this century (2000 to 2009) and those of the last century (1900 to 1999). It is clear that the U.S. has been much warmer in this century than the last, particularly in the West, and even more so in the Southwest and headwaters of the Colorado River. From the University of Arizona website(Source: NOAA)

1 comment:

Duncan said...

It's very maddening that, even if we can't agree on the strength or the existence of global warming, we can't agree to at least take steps with no downside.

But no.
One fringe will exaggerate the cost of anything proposed, and the other fringe will oppose anything achievable on the grounds that it doesn't go far enough.

It's a broken debate.