‘A normal year in the Southwest is now drier than it once was’
A subtle long-term shift in atmospheric patterns driven by global warming could lead to longer and more intense droughts in the southwestern U.S. and other semi-arid regions. Most climate models suggest that that a belt of higher average pressure that now sits closer to the equator will move north. This high-pressure belt is created as air that rises over the equator moves poleward and then descends back toward the surface.
Abrupt climate change ripples through desert ecosystems
Freshwater springs outside Las Vegas offer some clues about how global warming will affect desert ecosystems, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
New research shows the seeps and springs expanded and contracted dramatically in response to past episodes of abrupt climate change, even disappearing altogether for centuries at a time when conditions became too warm.
“This is a story of water,” said Springer. “Water was plentiful in the desert at times in the past, but when climate warmed, springs and wetlands dried up, and the plants and animals living in the harsh desert environment were out of luck,” said USGS scientist Kathleen Springer. Continue reading “Nevada fossil records offer global warming clues”→
The Pacific Ocean’s El Niño-La Niña cycle may become a dominant factor in West Coast weather by the end of this century and lead to more frequent weather extremes, according to a new study published in Nature Communications. Based on the findings, California could see the number of extreme droughts and floods by 2100, the researchers found.
‘The rate of the recent drying in the Horn of Africa is unprecedented in the last 2,000 years …’
The Horn of Africa, encompassing Somalia, Djibouti and Ethiopia, has been drying in sync with increases in global greenhouse gas emissions and could experience for frequent and intense droughts as global warming continues, scientists said after studying layers of sediments from the Gulf of Aden.
The detailed core samples enabled the scientists to create a highly accurate temperature record going back 2,000 years. The Horn of Africa has suffered deadly droughts every few years in recent decades and the study findings suggest the region will get progressively less rain during the crucial “long rains” season of March, April and May. Continue reading “Study: Horn of Africa droughts linked with global warming”→
Research in Africa suggests drought and heatwaves results in lower birth weight
A complex statistical analysis of health and climate data suggests there may be a link between climate change and birth weight, at least in parts of the developing world. The findings show that a pregnant woman’s exposure to reduced precipitation and an increased number of very hot days results in lower birth weight.
Multiple state agencies will eye adaptation, mitigation strategies
Colorado’s new climate plan calls for an all-hands-on-deck approach, with various state agencies working together, and with the public, to address the potential impacts of rising temperatures.
Acknowledging that average temperatures in the state could rise by as much as 2.5 to 5 degrees Celsius in the next few decades, Gov. John Hickenlooper called on Colorado make preparations now.
“Colorado is facing a potential increase in both the number and severity of extreme weather events,” Hickenlooper said in a prepared statement. “We’ve seen what Mother Nature can do, and additional risks present a considerable set of challenges for the state, our residents, and our way of life. This comprehensive plan puts forth our commitment from the state and sets the groundwork for the collaboration needed to make sure Colorado is prepared.”
‘More years like 2015 do not bode well for the frogs …’
LINZ — This year’s fierce drought in the Pacific Northwest has given researchers a chance to see how climate change may affect the region long-term, and the outlook is not good for amphibians.
The low winter snowpack and long, hot summer have left some frogs high and dry as their mountain ponds dry up and disappear. Those conditions could be the norm in another 50 years, said Se-Yeun Lee, research scientist at University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group and one of the lead authors of the study published last week in PLOS ONE.