Monday, April 16, 2007

Global Warming affects Arizona

A recent article in highlighted concerns expressed by some climatologists that our current drought (we're in year 12 of a 10-year drought) may not be a drought after all; it might be the early stages of our new standard climate.  They mention the fact they are seeing more real-world examples to prove their theory, as opposed to past years where they relied more heavily on computer simulations and models.

Could it be possible that global warming and ozone emissions changed our climate that quickly and that dramatically?

I'm pretty skeptical by nature, so I have a hard time believing that one year, say 1995, was normal, and the next year (1996) was the start of a new, much dryer era.  But there are two things I can think of which give me cause for concern:

  1. The book "The Tipping Point", by Malcolm Gladwell. I read this book last year, and think it's one of the most interesting I've ever read. He discusses tipping points in all walks of life, from social to environmental and from fashion to disease. The tipping point is that point in time when something changes, and it won't go back to the way it was before. A product can spend years building a slow following, and then, suddenly, it appeals to the masses. That suddenly might have been a commercial, or an appearance by a superstar, or anything else, but one day it just becomes part of pop-culture, almost overnight. With this in mind, it's possible that when our enviornment does change (if it hasn't already), that change may come faster than anyone expects.

  2. My other point of concern doesn't involve any firsthand experience, but I'm thinking about the extinction of the dinosaurs. Whether an asteroid hit our planet or not is up for debate (and I don't pretend to be an expert - on dinosaurs or asteroids), but there have been discoveries of dinosaurs whose lives ended abruptly - wooly mammoths with food still in their stomachs and things like that. This is another example, although maybe pretty far-reaching, that climates can change quickly.

So if this is true, what's our best alternative?  It might be time to research which area of the country is going to be like Phoenix has been - great weather, blue skies, no natural disasters.  When we figure out where that is, let's buy land - and lots of it!  Maybe somewhere further north, since what was cold may be more mild in the future.  Maybe somewhere inland, just in case the sea level rises too far.  And maybe somewhere in the mountains, but I'm not completely sure why - maybe the Rockies are just inherently more beautiful than Death Valley...?

I think land is still pretty affordable in Wyoming and Montana.  Who's with me?

- Chris Butterworth