Monday, December 03, 2007

Earth's tropics belt expands, may mean drier weather for U.S. Southwest, Mediterranean

Apparently models of the earth's weather are falling short on accuracy and to our detriment.
Earth's tropical belt seems to have expanded a couple hundred miles over the past quarter century, which could mean more arid weather for some already dry subtropical regions, new climate research shows.


Independent teams using four different meteorological measurements found that the tropical atmospheric belt has grown by anywhere between 2 and 4.8 degrees latitude since 1979. That translates to a total north and south expansion of 140 to 330 miles.


But climate scientists Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria and Richard Somerville of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography said Seidel's work makes sense and that computer models have consistently been underestimating the ill effects of global warming.

"Every time you look at what the world is doing it's always far more dramatic than what climate models predict," Weaver said.

Both Weaver and Seidel said the big concern is that dry areas on the edge of the tropics — such as the U.S. Southwest, parts of the Mediterranean and southern Australia — could get drier because of this.

"You're not expanding the tropical jungles, what you're expanding is the area of desertification," Weaver said.

Desertification ain't good. And the supplies of water will become more critical than they already are.

Sometimes it seems climate change is happening exponentially and not linearly. Its accelerating at a rate which won't let us humans understand what's happening and what to do about it before its too late to stop it.

Via Seattle Times.



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