Monday, January 14, 2013
What Lies in Store for Our Neighbours to the South
This is taken directly from the draft National Climate Assessment prepared by U.S. government scientists for release next year. It is taken from the introduction to the chapter on water.
1. Annual precipitation and runoff increases are observed now in the Midwest and 18 Northeast regions and are projected to continue or develop in northern states; 19 decreases are observed and projected in southern states. 20
2. Summer droughts are expected to intensify in most regions of the U.S., with longer 21 term reductions in water availability in the Southwest, Southeast, and Hawai‘i in 22 response to both rising temperatures and changes in precipitation. 23
3. Floods are projected to intensify in most regions of the U.S., even in areas where 24 average annual precipitation is projected to decline, but especially in areas that are 25 expected to become wetter, such as the Midwest and the Northeast. 26
4. Expected changes in precipitation and land use in aquifer recharge areas, combined 27 with changes in demand for groundwater over time, will affect groundwater 28 availability in ways that are not well monitored or understood. 29
5. Sea level rise, storms and storm surges, and changes in surface and groundwater use 30 patterns are expected to challenge the sustainability of coastal freshwater aquifers 31 and wetlands. 32
6. Air and water temperatures, precipitation intensity, and droughts affect water 33 quality in rivers and lakes. More intense runoff and precipitation generally increase 34 river sediment, nitrogen, and pollutant loads. Increasing water temperatures and 35 intensifying droughts can decrease lake mixing, reduce oxygen in bottom waters, 36 and increase the length of time pollutants remain in water bodies. 37
There it is. America is already in and faces a worsening water crisis. Precipitation patterns are shifting northward with precipitation declines across the already drought-stricken southeast and southwest. Many parts of the country, particularly the grain belt, are expected to endure cyclical droughts and floods.
Surface water resources are becoming distressed and are expected to sustain increases in sediment, nitrogen and pollution levels that can kill lakes.
What is beyond the scope of the NCA is what this means for Mexico and Central America and the challenges those will present to the southern U.S.
Remember, this is only one chapter, the one on water, that I cherry picked out of the much larger report. There's more, plenty more.
There are the reports. Here's a link to the National Climate Assessment. Here's a link to the recent paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. These two reports will give you an up to date and deliberately stark look at what we're facing. The question you have to answer is if you're just going to look the other way... sort of like all the frontrunners for the Liberal leadership.