The Arctic and Drought

Robert Krier has a fascinating piece in this morning’s San Diego Union Tribune suggesting a linkage between arctic melting and drought in the Southwest:

Three years ago, computer forecast models predicted that in 2050, the reduced ice mass would cause climate shifts that would result in a drought in the western United States.

But the ice is melting far faster than climatologists thought it would.

So much ice has disappeared that the Arctic today looks much like what scientists thought it would in 2050. It’s as if the atmosphere hit the fast-forward button.

The predicted climate changes also may have arrived, with much of the West in the midst of the kind of severe drought that geoscientist Jacob Sewall had envisioned for 2050.

The sort of dry spell they’re having in Southern California focuses the mind marvelously. I haven’t gone back and read the Sewall paper (if anyone has, I’d love to hear their thoughts), but this looks like a fascinating line of inquiry. I’ll keep you posted.


  1. Wow, that’s quite a story for a San Diego paper. It reads as if it was pitched more at policy makers than the general readership. In related news, it looks as if Arnold wants to re-fight the Peripheral Canal battle, although with the various constraints on the Delta I wonder how much water can be squeezed out for SoCal. I suspect we’ll be looking at ag buy-outs in another couple of years if the drought persists.

    OT: John, in the last couple of days there was a kerfuffle at the Intersection over an AP story on rising sea levels. If you have the time to look at it, I’d be curious to know your opinion of it (the story, not the kerfuffle, although I think the latter is a good illustration of the kind of confusion that can result from the AR4 becoming outdated as quickly as it has with regard to sea level projections).

  2. I suspect we’ll be looking at ag buy-outs in another couple of years if the drought persists.

    I moved away from the fascinating CA water politics to eventually the frustrating CO water politics. Nonetheless, the realities of human population, consumption, economy and technology are the same: buh-bye ag water.

    IOW: same everywhere.




Comments are closed.