With Hotter Temperatures, Arid Southwest Climate Moves Eastward Onto High Plains
The arid climate of the American West appears to be marching eastward, according to climate experts.
As StateImpact reports, the phenomenon is partly due to rising temperatures, and also due to declining levels of winter precipitation.
The result? The Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles and Western Kansas are starting to look more and more like New Mexico and Colorado.
Richard Seager, a climate scientist at Columbia University, said the arid regions of the Southwest have seen a steady progression eastward over the last three decades. And the changing climate is having an effect on agricultural operations, with many landowners moving away from smaller Eastern-style farms that grow “thirsty crops” like corn, and wheat, and moving toward larger rangeland-focused operations.
Seager warned that if the government is slow to address the changes, the phenomenon could lead to water fights and economic problems, stemming from subsidies for less viable crops.