Southwest May Get Even Hotter, Drier

Global warming will permanently change the climate of the American Southwest, making it so much hotter and drier that Dust Bowl-scale droughts will become common, a new climate report concludes.

Much of the nation west of the Mississippi River is likely to get drier because of the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but the greatest effect will be felt in already arid areas on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. By the end of the century, the climate researchers predict, annual rainfall in that region will have decline by a worrisome 10 to 20 percent.

A similar drying-out of the “subtropical” belt above and below the equator will hit the Mediterranean region and parts of Africa, South America and South Asia, the report said, as the overall warming of the oceans and surface air transforms basic wind and precipitation patterns around the Earth.

The prediction of a drier Southwest was made by 16 of 19 climate computer models assembled for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the international scientific effort to assess the impact of global warming, which is releasing a new report Friday.

More info:  Washington Post article


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