Reports on Arizona and other Southwestern Drought (2002-2005)
Here is a recent report gleaned from the Arizona Alumnus (Tucson, UA, Spring 2004, p. 10): The UA Tree Ring Lab reports that 2002 was the driest year in Arizona in 1,500 years. Some studies suggest that the current drought, now entering its 7th year, could last for 20 or 30 years.
From Science News October 15, 2005: (shows accompanying photo comparison) "At this New Mexico site, pinon pines were damaged by 2002 (left) and dead by 2004 (right) in a scorching drought. At sites across four states, a team headed by David Breshears of the University of Arizona in Tucson found that 40 to 80 percent of the pine nut-producing trees died during the drought and its plague of bark beetles. Fewer pinons perished during a similarly prolonged drought decades earlier. The recent drought wasn't any drier than the 1950s drought, but it was hotter,' Breshear says. Heat reduces ground moisture, dehydrates trees, and encourages beetle infestations. Tree-killing droughts could increase in frequency as the world's climate warms, the researchers warn in the Oct. 18 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. -- B. Harder"