06 December 2007

Local Warming and California Snow

A recent symposium reviewed the current status and anticipated problems from local warming in the Sierra Nevada. Lake Tahoe has already had a 0.5F temperature increase, which has allowed invasive fish to take hold.

Even if we take radical action now, we are committed to a 2-4F increase in temperature.

The biggest effect (already being felt) is a reduction in snow "stored" at high elevations. This is bad for skiing but really bad for water storage -- if water is not stored as snow, it runs into streams and overwhelms dams. The "more dams" solution is popular, but I am suspicious that they will just be expensive handouts to farmers who should get used to less water. (Cities use 1/4 the water farmers use; they will be fine.)

Bottom Line: Forget global warming, think local warming. We're already in it, and it's time to change some old, bad habits.


  1. "..it's time to change some old, bad habits" you write. What do you propose we change that *really* make a difference?


  2. What I propose...is that water be allocated via some market. Local warming is here to stay and will decrease the water supply. This is a problem, of course, but it's a bigger problem if we are managing our water badly. I have written about rational (economic?) water management elsewhere in this blog :)


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