A new study predicts that Texas’ climate is going to get drastically drier because of climate change. The journal Earth’s Future recently published the study looking at historical drought records, and it projected that the second half of the 21st century could be Texas’ driest of the last thousand years.
One of the study’s authors, Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon, spoke with Texas Standard host David Brown on Tuesday about the future of the states’ climate and water supply.
“Conditions, on average, would be drier than we’re used to, and when we get extreme droughts, those will be drier as well,” he said.
Nielsen-Gammon said that could initiate a westward shift in the state’s climate – meaning, San Angelo’s climate becomes more like Midland’s; Houston’s climate becomes more like Austin’s, and so forth.
Reducing carbon emissions is the long-term solution to the problem that comes from a warming planet. But Nielsen-Gammon said that requires massive changes on a global scale that haven’t happened yet.
So Texans would be wise to prepare for drier conditions. And that includes planning for possible water shortages.
“Our expectations about how much water will be available will shift,” Nielsen-Gammon said. “We’re going to have to dig deeper, both literally and metaphorically, to find the water that we need.”
For now, he said Texans need to start reducing their water usage, and the state needs to explore alternative water sources.
Web story by Sarah Gabrielli.