A great aridness : climate change and the future of the by William deBuys

By William deBuys

With its hovering azure sky and stark landscapes, the yankee Southwest is likely one of the such a lot hauntingly attractive areas on the earth. but mind-blowing inhabitants development, mixed with the intensifying results of weather switch, is using the oasis-based society as regards to the threshold of a Dust-Bowl-scale catastrophe.

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At my home in a rural mountain valley in northern New Mexico, the winter of 2001–2002 was so mild that a local bear came out of hibernation months early and ransacked my yard. It tossed chairs and tools and firewood about, grouchily searching for food. That winter was a bad one for the bear, but a good one for bark beetles, and once spring came, bringing weather so hot and dry the pastures never greened, you could walk among the piñons and hear a faint mechanical drone, as of a thousand tiny chisels rhythmically chipping away.

A scanty procession of tourists detours from the beaten path to pay twenty dollars a head to enter the structure, which was meant to be an indoor replication of everything outdoors. It is a proto–space station: Biosphere II was conceived as a living and breathing microcosm of Biosphere I, the planet Earth. Bankrolled by the Texas oilman and investor Edward P. Bass, the creators of Biosphere II hoped that it would serve as a laboratory where earthlings might learn to package (and eventually export) their bubble of life to distant planets and solar systems.

Perhaps then the urgency he has tried to engender will turn to cynicism, commitment turn to inaction, and the public’s grudging acceptance of the reality of climate change degrade into disbelief. Perhaps, in the end, his startling warning might have an effect opposite to the one he intended. Seager shrugs: “It’s because of things like that that the Bureau of Reclamation and their like can sort of throw their hands in the air and say, ‘Well, what do we do with these climate model projections? ” The sign, plus or minus, would still be a minus in terms of water availability— things will be getting drier.

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