the aridification of the American Southwest with Dr. Richard Seager of
Columbia University, a leading climate scientist who is especially
expert on the causes behind and the history of rainfall in the region.
The short version is this: People living in the American Southwest are
in for a rude shock. They're not experiencing a "drought" (and they
haven't yet even experienced the equivalent of the record-setting dry
spell of the 1950s). Instead, what's happening is that the climate in
the Southwest is permanently changing into a more arid state. Not
quite a desert, but close enough. It's one more proof, if you will, of
anthropogenic climate change. And in this case the science is
Policy makers in the region and in Washington had better pay attention
if they're to avoid or ameliorate vicious political struggles over
water rights, particularly between population centers and agriculture.
Most likely, however, those in power only will recognize what's
happening with 20/20 hindsight, long after the Southwest has dried up.
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