climate change

David Wallace/The Arizona Republic

A new study of global weather patterns over the past 35 years supports earlier scientific predictions the southwestern United States will become drier as atmospheric conditions that typically bring the most rain and snow to the region continue to become more rare.

The research supported by the National Science Foundation concludes that what's now considered a normal year of precipitation in the Southwest is drier than it used to be.

The scientists emphasize the new data doesn't prove climate change is responsible for increasing frequency and duration of drought.

To avoid the first frost, Navajo herders move their livestock to lower ground when aspen trees drop their leaves. Others watch the stars and the moon to gauge the timing of seasonal movements. But with changing climate in the Southwest, nature’s signs have become less reliable.


USGS

Deserts like the American Southwest are expected to get drier as the climate warms. That’s bad news for soil microbes, according to a global study co-authored by researchers at Northern Arizona University.


John McColgan, USDA

A Flagstaff-led study predicts future wildfires will dramatically increase soil erosion in the American West.


Thomas G. Whitham

Northern Arizona University’s Southwest Experimental Garden Array will test out the idea of “prestoration”—a kind of ecological restoration that anticipates the expected future climate.


Melissa Sevigny

A study published last week identifies regions where climate change is likely to imperil the water supply. The Colorado River Basin is high on the list.  


Ted Schuur

New climate change research from Northern Arizona University predicts frozen soils will release huge stores of ancient carbon as they warm.


The Arizona Republic

The State of Arizona has joined a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the federal Clean Power Plan. It’s among two dozen states fighting the new regulations that limit greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s power plants. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports. 


NAU

The American Southwest is one of the fastest changing climates in North America. And some scientists fear many plants, and the organisms that depend on them, may not be able to adapt to the changes in time to survive. That’s why Northern Arizona University ecological geneticist Tom Whitham is cloning key species and planting them in different environments.


In the global carbon economy, forests act like leafy savings accounts. They take carbon dioxide from the air during photosynthesis, convert it into biomass, and deposit it for years or even centuries in wood and soil.


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