Dustbowl in the Southwest?

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John Fleck has an interesting addition to the water stories I was blogging about earlier this week. Fleck talks about some new research indicating, well, I’ll just let him say it:

Global warming is turning the Southwest into a permanent Dust Bowl, where the dry conditions of our worst 20th century droughts — the 1930s and 1950s — become the norm over the next century, according to new research.

Global warming will push our winter storm track, which brings the region much of its moisture, to the north, according to Richard Seager at Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory.

Seager’s results, published on line today by the journal Science, sent ripples through the western water community as they began circulating this week.

They suggest a fundamentally new kind of drought here — not the occasional unusually dry stretches of the type the region saw in the 1930s and 1950s, but a climate that is that dry all the time.

John also has more at his blog:

It’s reasonable to think that most of the folks in sub-Saharan Africa didn’t celebrate the release of the latest grim Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report by heading out to the ballpark last night. But that’s what Lissa and I did, the beneficiary of a pair of free tickets to see our Isotopes play Omaha out at the lab.

Given the stark headlines in the morning paper – Global Warming Heralds Slow Impending Doom, or words to that effect – it was fitting that L suggested extra layers, and brought a blanket. It was 44 degrees at game time, with a howling east wind blowing in from right that kept more than a few fly balls in the ballpark and more than a few fans up in the clubhouse drinking their beers rather than in their seats watching baseball.

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