Alarming yes, but not alarmist

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Water level in Lake Mead is approaching all time record lows.

It might be time to rethink that retirement home in Arizona.

UA Geography Professor and IPCC lead author Dr. Jonathan Overpeck gave testimony this week to state legislators in Phoenix. His words sounded some alarm bells. The best science on climate change for Arizona is alarming, but not alarmist.

The state is already feeling the effects of climate change more than others. Millions of acres of pine forest have gone up in flames over the past decade, the result of lower winter precipitation in the mountains. Reservoirs have fallen dramatically, and the Colorado River reservoir system has seen a dramatic drop in levels over the past decade.

In Arizona, drinking water is all about CAP, the Central Arizona Project. This open canal snakes 336 miles from Lake Havasu eastward through Phoenix to Tucson. It delivers drinking water to Arizona's big cities and agricultural water to farmers in a desert landscape.

Overpeck points out that the combination of lower winter snowfall in the southwest, higher springtime evaporation of the snow pack, and higher summer temperatures is a bad recipe for the already over allocated Colorado River.

Having spent most of the past decade in Arizona, it is easy to see the documentable climate change right before your eyes. It is interesting to see the same people who call the science that Overpeck produces alarmist, as they watch entire lakes and reservoirs dry up and forests burn in front of their eyes.


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