The temperature in the central San Joaquin Valley in California's heartland is nearing triple digits as I write this, which is common for summer. But I'm afraid, after reading this report from Stanford University that it may get hotter - much hotter.
Global warming hot.
And the results could be devastating, particularly on crops such as corn, soybeans, cotton and wine grapes. Some of those, by the way, are big players in the bountiful San Joaquin Valley, the world's bread basket, where another study by UC Davis found significant reduction of chilling hours a threat to fruit and nut crops.
It won't happen this year or next, but researchers from Stanford say that long heat waves like the recent one in the eastern U.S and the one that killed thousands in Europe in 2003 are likely to become more common over the next three decades.
As many as five intense heat waves could occur in the central and western U.S. between 2020 and 2029, and as many as seven times in areas of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico between 2030 and 2039.
The two-year study debuts at about the same time NASA concluded that we are going through some historically high temps (See what Huffington Post wrote here), and also reported a chunk of ice of ice one-eighth the size of Manhattan detached from a glacier near Greenland, likely the result of ocean warming.
This is directly from the NASA report on the glacier:
"While there have been ice breakouts of this magnitude from Jakonbshavn and other glaciers in the past, this event is unusual because it occurs on the heels of a warm winter that saw no sea ice form in the surrounding bay," said Thomas Wagner, cryospheric program scientist at NASA Headquarters. "While the exact relationship between these events is being determined, it lends credence to the theory that warming of the oceans is responsible for the ice loss observed throughout Greenland and Antarctica."
The Stanford study used climate models to predict the likely outcome if carbon dioxide emissions heated the earth 1.8 degrees by 2039, which the International Panel on Climate Change thinks is possible.
In a disturbing statement, the lead researcher said the temperature is increasing faster than expected.
The Stanford report could lend more credibility to those opposing efforts to suspend AB 32, California's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. (See our previous blog).
For more on climate and energy issues, read the 2008 best-selling "Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need A Green Revolution - And How It Can Renew America" by three-times Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas L. Friedman.
The San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization is a nonprofit dedicated to improving our region's quality of life by increasing its production and use of clean and alternative energy. The SJVCEO works with cities and counties and public and private organizations to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout the eight-county region of the San Joaquin Valley.
(Photo courtesy of Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy)