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Model Projections of an Imminent Transition to a More Arid Climate in Southwestern North America

Science  25 May 2007:
Vol. 316, Issue 5828, pp. 1181-1184
DOI: 10.1126/science.1139601

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Abstract

How anthropogenic climate change will affect hydroclimate in the arid regions of southwestern North America has implications for the allocation of water resources and the course of regional development. Here we show that there is a broad consensus among climate models that this region will dry in the 21st century and that the transition to a more arid climate should already be under way. If these models are correct, the levels of aridity of the recent multiyear drought or the Dust Bowl and the 1950s droughts will become the new climatology of the American Southwest within a time frame of years to decades.

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