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Climate Change Reports Predicts Drier Decades Ahead for Southwest

Audio

Aired 12/31/12

As 2012 wraps up, here’s the weather forecast for the next 20 years: hotter and drier.

— As 2012 wraps up, here’s the weather forecast for the next 20 years: hotter and drier.

A study released this week of weather patterns for the Southwest U.S. predicts a serious reduction in rainfall, snow run-off and water supplies.

Whether you’ve bought into global warming or not, it doesn’t matter -- because it’s here, it’s getting worse and it’s making the Southwest even drier. That’s according to scientists like Richard Seager of the Columbia University Earth Institute.

“These projects need to be taken seriously and changes in water management, changes in the policies regarding water, need to be developed that can take into account the fact that there will be less water within the region in the future," Seager said.

Seager released a study in the journal Nature Climate Change that predicts a 10 percent reduction in the amount of rainfall in the region.

“which doesn’t sound too tremendously big, but given that the river flow is already all used and allocated any any reduction is bad news," Seager said.

And he said Texas will get the worst of it.

“In the particular case of Texas this is both because of a decline participation and also increase in temperature," Seagar said.

But Seager isn’t predicting the end of the world. He says it’s bad, but it’s manageable.

The predictions are based on the results of computerized weather simulations using the latest assessments of climate change.

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