Friday, April 6, 2007

Climate Change II: The Return of the Scary IPCC REPORT

The IPCC released part 2 of its four-part report on climate change. This part talks about climate changes that are happening now and the projections for future climates if warming trends continue.
Perhaps the most dramatic prediction for the US is the establishment of a permanent drought in the Southwest, according to Reuters.
The U.S. Southwest, home to some of the fastest growing cities in the country, could be on a path toward permanent drought caused by greenhouse warming, a new study said.

Dry conditions rivaling the Western droughts of the 1950s and the Dust Bowl that desiccated and then blew away the soil of the Great Plains states in the 1930s could hit the region and northern Mexico as early as 2030, according to the study, published in the journal Science on Thursday.
"The 30s and 50s droughts lasted at most eight or nine years. We're talking about something here that is a drier overall climate," Richard Seager, the study's lead author, and a research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York, said in an interview.
"Once it's established, you're not going to be expecting precipitation to be turning back to levels we are familiar with in the later part of the 20th century."

A sudden sweeping shift to clean technologies such as wind and solar power or rapid success in burying CO2 emissions from coal plants in places like the United States, China and India could mean C02 emissions fall sooner and ease drought threats.

But that is unlikely given the infancy of such technologies. Washington predicts fossil fuels will remain the main source of energy until at least the mid-century.

"A sudden reduction in emissions would prevent the very worst from happening. But some part of this is already inevitable with the CO2 we've already put into the atmosphere," said Seager.
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