By William deBuys
With its hovering azure sky and stark landscapes, the yankee Southwest is among the so much hauntingly appealing areas in the world. but amazing inhabitants progress, mixed with the intensifying results of weather switch, is using the oasis-based society with regards to the edge of a Dust-Bowl-scale catastrophe.
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Extra resources for A great aridness : climate change and the future of the American southwest
World society was going to weaken at one of its weakest points. Hundreds of millions of people live in the water-stressed regions of the world, their situations endlessly variable but their dependence on a scarce resource uniting them in unwanted vulnerability. Unfortunately, their unity of condition breeds a division of interests, as communities and nations compete for precious water, sometimes violently. One of the reddest regions on Milly’s map, which is to say one of the portions of the planet most threatened by a decline in water supply, stretches from Lebanon and Israel through Iraq and Iran to Afghanistan, lands beset by generations of intense conflict, where the stress of water shortage can inflame old grudges.
D. MILLY, ET AL. , GLOBAL PATTERN OF TRENDS IN STREAMFLOW AND WATER AVAILABILITY IN A CHANGING CLIMATE, NATURE 438 (NOVEMBER 17, 2005): 347–350. High Blue: The Great Downshift of Dryness 31 decrease. ” But there are problems with that scenario. ” And probably more erosion and arroyo cutting. “And you won’t be able to use that water; it’ll run off ”—which is to say, it won’t be stored and metered out in the convenient manner of a snowpack. In the summer, according to Seager, the Southwest’s high rate of evaporation makes it a net exporter of water.
Comparison of aerial photographs from 1954 and 1958 revealed more: along the mesas at the base of the Jemez range, the lower edge of the pine forest had retreated upslope as much as two kilometers, as ponderosas died and surrendered their territory to piñon and juniper. Oracle: Global-Change-Type Drought 43 The drought of the 1950s was longer and drier than that of the early 2000s, and it killed vast numbers of trees of multiple species, not only pines. But the later drought appears to have induced mortality at an even more spectacular scale.