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.

2 comments:

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

    Curious..

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  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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