Friday, January 23, 2009

For the southwest, it will continue to get worse.

---Update below---
Our region has already begun to heat up, Overpeck said.

"The warming has already been about 2 degrees Fahrenheit . . . That's kinda scary," he told the audience in an opening statement. "It's affecting the Southwest of the United States more than any other area outside of Alaska."

We will have more fire and insect outbreaks, erosion from wind and water and competition among plants from non-native species, especially grasses, Breshears said.

One key problem is fire combined with non-native grasses, such as buffelgrass. When buffelgrass burns, it kills native plants, leaving more room for more grass. With each burn, more of the desert dies and more grass spreads.

"We're setting up a feedback that is very difficult to get out of," Breshears said.

Climate change even threatens to eradicate our "megaflora" of the Southwest, such as Joshua trees and saguaro cactuses. Buffelgrass kills young saguaros by blocking sun and sucking up the water the budding behemoths need.

"That's a pretty grim forecast for Tucson," Breshears said.

Despite thousands of scientists studying climate change, major questions about the Southwest remain unanswered, Overpeck said.

"One of the things we can't say is whether the monsoon will get stronger or weaker - the models are all over the place," he said.

Quotes from the Tucson Citizen -- UA prof: Global warming hitting Southwest via Arizona Geology -- Southwest to get more droughts, floods, & fires.

By the way, the Border Reporter writes that The Tucson Citizen, Arizona’s oldest newspaper
will close unless they find a buyer. March 21 is the date given.
Not that Bush didn't speed it along with his special form of environmental abuse, Orwellian named Healthy Forests, but western forests are dying on their own as part of Global Warming's steady march across our planet.

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