Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Environment

Climate Multiplier

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

This story in the L.A. Times really bugs me. In an interview, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu predicts, or at least was paraphrased as predicting, that

California's farms and vineyards could vanish by the end of the century, and its major cities could be in jeopardy, if Americans do not act to slow the advance of global warming.

Nowhere in the story is drought mentioned, which I find astonishing, given that just a few days ago, a state water official said, "We may be at the start of the worst California drought in modern history." As I wrote here, even that statement fails to take into account a longer climate history of the West. The mega-droughts that occurred a millinium ago make the 1930s dust bowl look like childs play. As the LA Times reported two years ago, scientists believe that the Southwest is about to enter a new cycle of severe aridity--a state of permanent drought--that will last for decades. So now comes along a story that suggests global warming will bring California to its knees by the end of this century. But that's only part of the story. Climate change is a force multiplier--it will undoubtedly exacerbate matters, making the West drier and for longer periods. The natural cycles of drought and human-induced climate change will combine to write the future of the West.

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 75%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In