Wednesday, December 05, 2007

WUW - Where's the water?

I don't have much time to do this post this week, with the holidays and our move/selling the house coming up, so I am going to direct you to a couple of articles about drought. It's frightening stuff. This first one touches on drought around the world, but has some info on the Southeastern US:

According to the National Climate Data Center, federal officials have declared 43 percent of the contiguous US to be in "moderate to extreme drought." Already, Sonny Perdue of Georgia is embroiled in an ever more bitter conflict -- a "water war," as the headlines say -- with the governors of Florida and Alabama, as well as the Army Corps of Engineers, over the flow of water into and out of the
Atlanta area.
He's hardly alone. After all, the Southwest is in the grips of what, according to Davis, some climatologists are terming a "'mega-drought,' even the 'worst in 500 years.' " More shockingly, he writes, such conditions may actually represent the region's new "normal weather."

And this one focuses on the Western part of the US:

Scientists sometimes refer to the effect a hotter world will have on this country’s fresh water as the other water problem, because global warming more commonly evokes the specter of rising oceans submerging our great coastal cities. By comparison, the steady decrease in mountain snowpack — the loss of the deep accumulation of high-altitude winter snow that melts each spring to provide the American West with most of its water — seems to be a more modest worry. But not all researchers agree with this ranking of dangers. Last May, for instance, Steven Chu, a Nobel laureate and the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, one of the United States government’s pre-eminent research facilities, remarked that diminished supplies of fresh water might prove a far more serious problem than slowly rising seas. When I met with Chu last summer in Berkeley, the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, which provides most of the water for Northern California, was at its lowest level in 20 years. Chu noted that even the most optimistic climate models for the second half of this century suggest that 30 to 70 percent of the snowpack will disappear. “There’s a two-thirds chance there will be a disaster,” Chu said, “and that’s in the best scenario.”

Speaking of selling our house, I am glad we are getting out of here before the water runs out! Not that I am happy to think that my friends who have more roots here are going to face possible relocations in the future. It's sad, but there is not going to be an easy solution to the question, where should we go?

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