Wednesday, December 12, 2007

How Dry I Am....

Within our lifetimes, much of the west coast will be uninhabitable desert.

Don't believe me?:
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - By 2040, climate change will have melted the glaciers of Glacier National Park in Montana and the spring snowpack in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, scientists said on Tuesday.

"People talk about a tipping point, but we've been there and done that," said Tim Barnett, a researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California and speaker at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union.[...]

Barnett studies snowpack at high altitudes in the Western United States and estimates the region's snow accumulation decreased an average of 20 percent between 1950 and 1999.[...]

About 50 percent of the fresh water consumed by people worldwide comes from mountains, so the rate at which snowpack is disappearing is worrying, said Daniel Fagre, an ecologist who works for the U.S. Geological Survey in Glacier National Park in Montana.
This "50%" includes most of Los Angeles and San Diego, as well as most of New Mexico and Arizona.

The example being shown us by Atlanta, which can trace its problems to an extended drought, pale in comparison to this situation. This same drought could dry Durham up by February.

But droughts can be cured. A good long soaking rain, a few weeks of contunual rain showers, hell, a blizzard, any of these could replenish Atlanta's and Durham's water supply fairly quickly.

This would not happen in the West. You can't replace glacier melt quickly, and rain...well, there aren't a lot of deserts out in that part of the world because it gets a lot of rain. The topography is such that the water gets drawn out of the ground and transported over the Rockies, which is Colorado has such lush valleys.

Ironically, if we had fixed our dependence on oil decades ago, as prescient President Jimmy Carter had wanted to, we'd have the perfect delivery system that could shunt water from places with abundance to places that needed it: oil and natural gas pipelines.

After all, it would have cost a lot of money to dig those up, so likely they would have been cleaned and left to rust.

Now, we'll have to figure out strategies for transporting water to places that need it because they've been impacted by global warming due to....transporting commodities, in large part.

Irony, thy name art "human".