31 Mar 2008

Local Heat

There may be global warming, but the West is getting hotter, faster:
The American West is heating up faster than any other region of the United States, and more than the Earth as a whole, according to a new analysis of 50 scientific studies.


Globally, warming varies according to region -- with more heating over land than over oceans. In California, with its coastal location, the study showed an increase of 1.1 degrees above the global average over the last five years. Arid interior states, including Utah, Wyoming, Arizona and Montana, experienced rises more than 2 degrees higher than in the world overall.


According to Udall, the data suggest that the trend will accelerate -- with the West warming about 1 1/2 times faster than the global average. Martin Hoerling, a NOAA meteorologist, has predicted that the West could heat up as much as 5 degrees by mid-century. In Alaska, the annual mean air temperature has risen 4 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit over the last three decades.
To see how life will change at five degrees hotter, click here

Bottom Line: Local warming is what we have to pay attention to, and the Western US is going to get it hard. There is little we can do about the climate, but many things we can do to reduce the harm to us from changes in the climate. The most obvious (to me) is to introduce markets for water -- so that farmers can sell to cities (and use less themselves); and increase prices for water -- so people in cities use less. We can do much better in managing our limited water.

So -- do you really need that lawn? When's the last time you walked on it (besides mowing the grass)?

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