Southwest ‘on front lines … of climate change’ — The Taos News

President Obama at Hoover Dam

From The Santa Fe New Mexican (Rebecca Moss) via The Taos News:

Extreme hurricanes, fires and earthquakes dominated headlines in 2017. And almost daily, the validity of policy enacted by the Obama administration to prevent global warming through international commitments and domestic policy are disputed and unwound by the Trump administration. It’s a debate that resonates deeply in New Mexico, where environmental concern and an oil-driven economy are often at odds.

“If people demand iron-clad proof that humans are changing the climate, then we can’t react,”Gutzler said. “But from my perspective, there has been such a mountain of evidence – to toss all that out because there are uncertainties would be choosing stupidity.”

Gutzler’s profession is based on an ever-evolving science of prediction and how finite environmental conditions – the precise interaction between the amount of atmospheric moisture and the velocity of the wind – correlate to the weather tomorrow, next winter and, ultimately, decades from today.

Uncertainty is what first drew Gutzler to the field. As an undergraduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, he intended to study physics but, on a whim, signed up for a meteorology lecture. The professor introduced him to the principles of chaos theory, based on meteorologist Edward Lorenz’s research on what is now known as the butterfly effect.

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