- A long, must-read article in the New York Times magazine, “The Future Is Drying Up.”
- A great interview on the Diane Rehm show on U.S. Weather Patterns and Drought with Gerald Galloway, former brigadier general in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Mark Svoboda, climatologist, National Drought Mitigation Center; and Richard Heim, Meteorologist NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center
- A good post from RealClimate on the drought in Turkey.
The Times piece has some great material:
According to Richard Seager, a scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, when asked “if the drought in his [climate] models would be permanent, he pondered the question for a moment” and then said:
You can’t call it a drought anymore, because it’s going over to a drier climate. No one says the Sahara is in drought.
Pat Mulroy, the head of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, is “certain that the reduced circumstances of the two big Western reservoirs are tied to global warming and that Las Vegas is this country’s first victim of climate change.” She said:
“We have an exploding human population, and we have a shrinking clean-water supply. Those are on colliding paths. This is not just a Las Vegas issue. This is a microcosm of a much larger issue…. The people who move to the West today need to realize they’re moving into a desert. If they want to live in a desert, they have to adapt to a desert lifestyle.”
That means a shift from the mindset of the 1930s, when the federal government encouraged people to settle in the West, plant water-intensive crops and make it look like the East Coast. It means landscapes of parched dirt. It means mesquite bushes and palo verde trees for vegetation. It means recycled water. It means gravel lawns. It is the West’s new deal, she seemed to be saying, and I got the feeling that for Mulroy it means that every blade of grass in her state would soon be gone.
Finally, there is an all-too-rare discussion of the water/energy nexus:
It isn’t just the matter of growing corn for ethanol, which is already straining water supplies. The less water in our rivers, for instance, the less hydropower our dams produce. The further the water tables sink, the more power it takes to pump water up. The more we depend on coal and nuclear power plants, which require huge amounts of water for cooling, the larger the burden we place on supplies.
If you want to learn more about the drought/climate connection, which is probably one of the two or three most dangerous impacts of global warming, here is further reading:
- Australia faces the “permanent dry” — as do we
- Warming Will Worsen Water Wars
- 2007: A record-setting U.S. drought year
- And the drought goes on
- Brutal Drought Where It’s Normally Wet
- Global Warming Imperils 4th of July
- Los Angeles: Worst Drought Ever Recorded
- USA Today Almost Gets the Drought Story Right
- The NY Times Blows the Drought Story, too.
- Tiger Woods and Global Warming