Tag Archive for 'American Southwest'

History’s Wake-up Call for the Greenhouse Century

Photo retrieved from: www.nationalgeographic.com

“The Southwest is in the midst of a decade-long dry period. Lower-than-normal rainfall combined with higher-than-normal temperatures (likely due to greenhouse warming) has substantially altered the region’s hydrologic conditions. From 2000-2009, the Colorado River exhibited the lowest 10-year-running-average flow of any 10-year period in the last century.

A team of researchers led by Connie A. Woodhouse at the University of Arizona in Tucson examined paleo-climatic records to place this recent decade-long drought in a longer-term (1,200-year) context. Their findings, published in the December 13 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are more than sobering: they are a call to assess risks and prepare for the worst.

Woodhouse and her colleagues found that as bad as the current drought is shaping up to be, it pales (so far) in comparison to one that lasted two decades during the middle of the 12th-century–and these dry conditions, they warn, could happen again. This medieval drought was more severe, widespread, and longer lasting than any other in the Southwest over the past 12 centuries. Reconstructed Colorado River flows for the period 1146-1155 averaged just 11.5 million acre-feet (14.2 billion cubic meters) per year, 22 percent lower than the river’s average annual flow during the 20th century.”

Read more: National Geographic

Reactionary Anti-Immigrant Groups Now Blaming Immigrants For Drought in Southwestern US

Photo retrieved from: www.commondreams.org

“The anti-immigrant movement, under groups like The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), blame immigrants and population levels in the American Southwest for lack of water and potential water shortages. We know droughts are becoming more frequent and are lasting longer. There are real causes for water shortages in the Southwest and equitable access to water is highly important. The anti-immigrant movement, however, has only one cause and one solution: blame immigrants.

In The Center for Immigration Studies’ new report, “Population, Immigration, and the Drying of the American Southwest,” the group asserts that the key to addressing water scarcity is immigration. According to CIS, immigration is causing the Southwest population to “explode” and making insatiable demands on “our” limited resources. CIS encourages its readers to take action and even claims that the government is “afraid” to address immigration.

Kathleen Parker, writer for CIS, presents a flood of figures to relate the grim states of the Rio Grande, the Colorado River and the reservoirs and aquifers spread across California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado. Parker paints a threatening picture in which wild fires are likened to atomic bombs and the local history is “dotted with violence and shoot outs over the precious resource [water].”

Read more: AlterNet