Year 3, Month 5, Day 6: Here’s Your Allowance For The Next Decade, Sweetheart. It’s All In Pennies.

The New York Times reports on a scary new study:

New research suggests that global warming is causing the cycle of evaporation and rainfall over the oceans to intensify more than scientists had expected, an ominous finding that may indicate a higher potential for extreme weather in coming decades.

By measuring changes in salinity on the ocean’s surface, the researchers inferred that the water cycle had accelerated by about 4 percent over the last half century. That does not sound particularly large, but it is twice the figure generated from computerized analyses of the climate.

If the estimate holds up, it implies that the water cycle could quicken by as much as 20 percent later in this century as the planet warms, potentially leading to more droughts and floods.

That’s pretty fucking alarming. Sent April 27:

A projected twenty percent acceleration in Earth’s water cycle holds the potential for catastrophic ripple effects throughout our lives and those of our posterity. Without a steady supply of water throughout the growing season, agriculture on civilization-feeding scales will become exponentially more difficult. While its impacts on farming will be profound, the drought-or-deluge model predicted by Paul Durack and his colleagues can be expected to transform beyond recognition many of the local and regional ecosystems our forbears took for granted.

To avoid the worst-case scenarios implicit in these findings, we must begin planning for a future in which water supplies will be irregular and extreme. We’ll need expanded and reinforced storage and conservation, water-stingy techniques of manufacturing, a completely re-imagined waste-processing system, and the infrastructure required by a host of other functions. Most difficult of all, we need to make our paralyzed political system respond constructively to an imminent crisis.

Warren Senders

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