Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pulling Back

Image: Hannes Grobe 21:51, 12 August 2006 (UTC), Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany - Creative Commons License

A large construction project in the high desert outside L.A. is put on hold because builders cannot guarantee that there will be enough water for the development. This feels like the beginnings of a settling in of the realization that Greater Los Angeles cannot simply continue to ooze endlessly into the desert. With the drought on the Colorado River, in the snow packs of the Sierras, and the Delta Smelt ruling, Southern California will be forcing more of these hard choices in the future.

Meanwhile, in Antarctica, a new study finds that the western Antarctic ice sheet is melting at a rapidly accelerating rate:
[T]he new study is the first to show that this loss is accelerating, at least in western Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula, the researchers say.

"In all the ice sheet models we have at present for Antarctica, things happen very slowly," Bamber said.

"[But] we're seeing things happen rather quickly."

They found that for Antarctica overall, ice loss increased about 75 percent over the ten-year period, from 112 gigatons of ice per year in 1996 to 196 gigatons of ice per year in 2006.
Too little water, too much water.

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