30 Jul '12, 3pm

Chronic Drought Will Become New Normal Across Parts of US

Chronic Drought Will Become New Normal Across Parts of US

Craig Allen, US Geological Survey/Public Domain Pine forest near Los Alamos NM, in 2002 on the left and in 2004 on the right, showing the changes in vegetation, with large amounts dead, due to drought. Scientists writing in Nature Geoscience have made a rather grim forecast for the coming century: The chronic drought conditions that hit the western US from 2000-2004, the strongest in 800 years, will become normal conditions. Report co-author Beverly Law: Areas that are already dry in the West are expected to get drier. We expect more extremes. And it's these extreme periods that can really cause ecosystem damage, lead to climate-induced mortality of forests, and may cause some areas to convert from forest into shrublands or grasslands. (Science Daily ) In addition to the perhaps obvious effects of extreme drought on water availability and changing vegetation, it also has a...

Full article: http://www.treehugger.com/climate-change/chronic-drought-...

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