State looks to its water future

Fixes on rim

By Julie Bisbee Published: October 26, 2007
Advertisement
;
The effects of climate change are real and should be considered by officials formulating the state's 50-year plan for water usage and supply, the state's top climate official said Thursday.

Oklahoma can expect to see longer hot spells, more frequent heat waves and short periods of cold weather, state climatologist Ken Crawford told attendees at the Governor's Water Conference and Oklahoma Water Resources Research Institute.

Prolonged heat waves and dry periods will put additional stress on Oklahoma's water resources, Crawford said.

The Oklahoma Climatological Survey released its statement on climate change this week as water planning officials met to discuss the state's future water needs. Using Oklahoma weather data dating to 1896 and information from an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the state's climate-tracking agency cautioned against ignoring the effects of a warming globe.

"Mounting evidence continues to indicate ... that human activities have begun to impact the earth's climate through the release of greenhouse gases,” the report states. "Even if greenhouse gas concentrations were held steady since the year 2000, the earth is committed to decades of warming from heat already absorbed by the oceans.”

While the cause of global warming may be politicized, its effects are not, Crawford said.

"With as much heated debate that's out there, we thought we ought to at least take a stand and weed through the riff-raff,” Crawford said. "We wanted to present this in understandable terms so people who are out there making policy are informed.”

Oklahoma will still have variable weather patterns, like hot years and cold years, but over a 10-year period the state could see increased droughts and more severe dry spells, Crawford said.

Unlike some Western states, Oklahoma has an ample supply of water, but the state's population is expected to grow by nearly a million people in the next 50 years. Oklahoma Climatological Survey Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan

Continue reading this story on the...


What climate change could mean
•Warmer summers, heat waves and extremes.

•Increased frequency and severity of drought.

•Increased risk for wildfires with prolonged periods of hot and dry weather.

•Warmer summers will bring a longer growing season. Crops will mature quicker, leaving them more vulnerable to late freezes.

•Increased precipitation intensity.

•Increased risk of flooding.

•Increased need for watering/irrigation.

Source: Oklahoma Climatological Survey

Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Owasso beats Jenks for first time since 1993; Union rolls past BA
  2. 2
    Tulsa police officer recounts saving man from dog mauling
  3. 3
    Missing Tulsa pilot, plane found after authorities narrowed the search
  4. 4
    Russian bombers intercepted near Canadian airspace
  5. 5
    Slender Man costumes cause uproar after stabbing
+ show more