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Reader View: Drought is normal for New Mexico

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Posted: Monday, August 12, 2013 9:30 pm | Updated: 12:31 am, Wed Aug 21, 2013.

Mary Wolf of the Collected Works Bookstore recently made some valid observations describing how the climate has changed in New Mexico since her store opened in 1978 (My View, “Climate change effects: Real and local,” Aug. 4). I remember the opening of her store, a valuable asset to the community.

To understand New Mexico climate, though, we need to look much further than 1978 — which, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was the coldest and snowiest winter in U.S. history. Looking back to the 13th century, the Anasazi of Chaco Canyon were wiped out primarily because of a multi-decade drought, much more severe than anything seen in modern times.

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3 comments:

  • Khal Spencer posted at 12:41 pm on Wed, Aug 21, 2013.

    Khal Spencer Posts: 298

    Thanks, Mr. Heller, for the timely and sobering reminder of the climate history of these parts. Humans tend to think that normal is what we are seeing with our own eyes. Looking back at data such as the Anasazi experience, tree ring and pollen records, etc, gives us a more complete picture of what is possible, and how fickle climate can be, with or without human intervention.

    If I recall correctly, the 13th Century megadraught may have had something to do with higher average solar radiance coupled with less volcanic dust in the Earth's atmosphere (Woodhouse et al 2009 paper**), hence a time period worth studying as a potential parallel to another warmer and dryer spell ahead.

    ** http://www.pnas.org/content/107/50/21283.full

     
  • Edward Brown posted at 5:48 pm on Tue, Aug 13, 2013.

    ERB Posts: 12

    Tony - thanks for bring forward the real story of climate change.

     
  • Philip Taccetta posted at 8:31 am on Tue, Aug 13, 2013.

    PhiltheElder Posts: 131

    Certainly a situation that does not support development!

     
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