The climate model is adapted from a West-wide model developed by the Department of Energy, which predicts that, over the next 50 years, Western snowpack will decline by up to 70 percent (see story, page 8). Michael J. Scott, a natural resources economist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., refined the original model to look at the impacts of climate change on farming in the Yakima Valley. He estimates that warmer, drier weather could cause crop yields to drop by nearly a quarter over the next several decades.
Scott hopes that decision-makers throughout the West will pay attention to regional and local climate models, especially since scientists predict that global warming will increase the frequency of severe drought years. In that case, more than just agriculture will be at risk.
Scott says his model will help farmers adapt to dry times by planting drought-tolerant crops in advance, or changing harvest dates. But he still has some hurdles to jump: Roza Irrigation District Director Tom Monroe says he only knows of three farmers who are aware of the model. "I’m not sure how many (of these) folks are willing to accept or agree to global warming itself," he says.
- After attack, the country’s oldest park ranger is back at work
- Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake’s criticism of Trump wins him national prominence
- Emotions run high over monument designation in Utah
- BLM moves away from landmark Northwest Forest Plan
- How Utah coal interests helped push a secret plan to export coal from California
- Harold Johnson on We should be proud of delisting grizzlies
- Mark Rozman on Study finds surprising source of Colorado River water supply
- Doug Johnson on In this season of potential megaburns, nix the campfire
- The Taylors on Latest: The BLM to study surgical sterilization of wild horses
- Marcia Ewell on New measures could reduce Glen Canyon Dam’s impact on the Grand Canyon — a bit