Exploring Hydrocarbon Depletion
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Source: Copyright 2005, Knight Ridder
Date: February 11, 2005
Byline: Robert S. Boyd
WASHINGTON â€” Despite a booming population and urban sprawl, the United States has gained 10 million acres of forests since 1990. That's enough trees to cover all the land in New Jersey twice.
But we're planning for the worst and planting other kinds of trees.
Ludi wrote:In Central Texas we have "oak wilt" and "live oak decline" which are disorders that affect weakened trees. It's very sad; huge tracts of land are covered with dead trees. We're expecting to get it on our place in the next couple years although since we don't graze our land or otherwise abuse it our trees seem fairly healthy. But we're planning for the worst and planting other kinds of trees.
US FEMA wrote:Drought in the Northwest May Be The Worst Since 1992
This winter's extraordinary warm weather and low snowpack could produce the kind of drought not seen in the Northwest since 1992, when wildfires burned hundreds of thousands of acres throughout the West while Puget Sound-area residents faced mandatory water rationing, experts say.
Further, climate scientists say, this year's dry weather in the Northwest may not be an anomaly -- it could be part of a trend that will require major adjustments in the management of water, fish, forests and other natural resources.
Philip Mote, a University of Washington (UW) climate researcher, and Richard Palmer, Director of the UW Center for Water Resource Management stated that while all the conditions are being met for a drought similar to that seen in the region in 1992, many government officials and policy-makers, especially on the west side of the Cascades, are still telling people "everything will be fine," he said.
The two scientists are part of the UW's Climate Impacts Group, an interdisciplinary scientific consortium that applies the tools of climate science to assess both short-term weather and long-term climate change (global warming). What they have found, in the short term, is that February was one of the driest months on record, though it is too early to determine if Cascade snowpack levels will be at their lowest in the past 50 years.
Western Washington has already had a few small forest fires -- typically unheard of during this usually soggy time of year. The essential identity of the Pacific Northwest, our wetness, is under threat. Even with a return to normal precipitation, the UW scientists said, the low snowpack means the streams, on average, will be at about half their normal flow.
Oddly, this year has neither been the driest or warmest ever, Mote noted. Precipitation is just 75 percent of normal, and there have been other years with a greater number of warmer days, he said. Mote stated that the problem is that whenever the Northwest got precipitation, it was warm, which explains why the snowpack is only at about 15 percent of its normal level.
This kind of weather pattern is just what the climate group has predicted could become routine given the impact of global warming on the Pacific Northwest. Neither scientist is saying that this year's weather can be directly attributed to climate change.
The evidence is accumulating that this drought should not be viewed as a one-time emergency, both scientists said, but rather as perhaps a glimpse into what will become routine for the near future. The Climate Impacts Group has taken the global estimates of climate change and applied them to the region predicting a long-term trend of rising snow lines, declining snowpack overall, significantly reduced stream flow even with normal (or, perhaps increased winter) precipitation.
All the focus now is on the snowpack, the drought and the human demand for water, the scientists said, but this trend -- if it continues -- will also have significant environmental impacts on Northwest flora and fauna that may be hard to imagine now.
Heineken wrote:I love redcedars. They add beauty and atmosphere to any landscape, they stay green (or purplish) through the winter, and their berries are avidly consumed by birds, who also use it for cover. The wood lasts forever in ground contact and so makes the ideal fencepost. I burn a lot of it in my woodstove.
The wood is beautiful and aromatic and repels bugs, so it's great for lining drawers and for furniture construction.
Redcedar is easy to transplant and makes a great screen.
The bark and fluting on the trunk of an old cedar are lovely to behold.
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