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Wrong David Gutzler?

David S. Gutzler

Professor of Meteorology and Climatology

University of New Mexico

HQ Phone:  (505) 277-0111


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University of New Mexico

1 University Of New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico,87131

United States

Company Description

The UNM Cancer Center is the Official Cancer Center of New Mexico and the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center in the state. One of just 68 premier NCI-Designated Cancer Centers nationwide, the UNM Cancer Center is recognized for its scienti...more

Background Information

Web References(114 Total References)

In Parched Southwest, Anxious Wait for Summer Rains | Climate Central

www.climatecentral.org [cached]

"I don't expect temperatures to return to 20th Century average conditions, and the effect of long-term warming on the water budget, added to all the other non-climate stresses on water resources here, is what makes 21st Century water management such a daunting challenge," said David Gutzler, a professor at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

El Grito | The Year of Smoke, Ashes and Rebellion

www.elgritonm.org [cached]

Quoted at an Albuquerque seminar sponsored by the League of Women Voters and Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, University of New Mexico Professor David Gutzler said average temperatures in New Mexico were now warmer than at any time in the past century, and could lead to reduced snow pack, agricultural shrinkage and desertification.

CMEP 2011 Awards | US CLIVAR

usclivar.org [cached]

David Gutzler
University of New Mexico


David Gutzler
David Gutzler is Professor of Meteorology and Climatology at the University of New Mexico. He and his students combine observed data and large-scale model output to assess the causes of global and regional climate variability, and to improve the skill and application of hydroclimatic predictions on seasonal and longer time scales. He holds degrees from the University of California at Berkeley (B.S., Engineering Physics) and MIT (PhD, Meteorology). He is a former Editor of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate. He served as a lead author for the fifth assessment report of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, published in 2013. He received the UNM College of Arts & Sciences' award for outstanding teaching in 2008 and was named a Fellow in the university's new Center for Teaching Excellence this year.

Four Corners Free Press Official Website

fourcornersfreepress.com [cached]

That was the message given by Dave Gutzler, professor of meteorology and climatology at the University of New Mexico, to a crowd of close to 150 on Jan. 16 in Cortez.
The presentation was part of the annual Crow Canyon Archaeological Center Lecture Series, sponsored by Crow Canyon and a number of local businesses. Gutzler, who has been with UNM since 1995, has a doctorate in meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a direct advisor to the New Mexico State Engineer's Office and co-chair of a working group on drought prediction. Gutzler's talk was low-key rather than alarmist, and he acknowledged that there is "lots of uncertainty" in projections created through computer modeling. But he believes climate change is occurring, most of it is human-caused, and smart people will plan better ways to manage shrinking water resources. For instance, streamflows on mainstem rivers in the Four Corners are projected to dwindle significantly in the next hundred years - about 30 percent from 1995 to the end of the 21st century, Gutzler said. "If this happens, the Colorado River Compact [which governs Colorado River allocations in seven states] would smply be unenforceable," he said. "We'll have a water war in the West because we won't have enough water in the basin to satisfy all the states' legally apportioned water rights. This is a problem and we need to start planning for this." Gutzler presented evidence supporting global warming, but rather than talk about rising oceans and shrinking ice caps, he focused on how the changes are likely to affect the Southwest, which is "what geographers call a climatically vulnerable place." • The planet's average surface temperature has heated up a little more than 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past century, "which doesn't sound like a lot, but in fact, it matters," Gutzler said. "We're really very confident that the climate is really changing, it's warming up, and the only way to explain it is by greenhouse gases. Solar fluctuations and volcanic emissions can't account for the steady upward trend. As a result, utility companies are already changing their rates to reflect warmer winters and hotter summers. "These warming trends, as modest as they are, are already affecting your life," Gutzler said. Computer models aren't perfect, but they are pretty good, according to Gutzler. What those same models show for the 21st Century "depends on what greenhouse gases will be," Gutzler said. "By 2050, the coldest summer we see is still hotter than we have ever experienced," Gutzler warned. "By 2100 the coldest summer is hotter than humans have ever experienced in their history." Overall precipitation will not change so much, but there will be a propensity for greater fluctuations. Already, in the past 15 years, northern New Mexico has experienced its driest and wettest winter and summer in recorded history, Gutzler said. In addition, "the wet places on earth will get wetter and the dry places will get dryer" in the future, he said. "If you happen to live in one of these places where it's dry already, then you've got a problem." Of course, droughts are not new, Gutzler acknowledged, "and you can't blame people for the fact we have had many over the past millennium." Meteorologists are beginning to think that ocean temperatures and currents play a much bigger role in droughts than was previously understood. When the Atlantic is warm, the United States seems to get less precipitation. And it's only recently been learned that when the Atlantic is warm and the Pacific is cold at the same time, "there seems to be not much precipitation in the Southwest," Gutzler said. In the warm future, spring runoff occurs earlier and rivers dry up sooner, Gutzler said. WILL SOUTHWEST COLORADO LOOK LIKE BIG BEND, TEXAS (SHOWN HERE) IN COMING DECADES? IT'S POSSIBLE, A DROUGHT EXPERT WARNS. Projections for the Rio Grande River show a huge drop in flows in May and June in future years, "because the snow has already melted and flowed downriver." The ground will dry out faster because of warmer temperatures, so less vegetation grows, particularly in southern regions. Higher temperatures promote more evaporation, "and water wafts away to undeserving places like Kansas and the East Coast," Gutzler said, smiling. Not preparing for these changes would be "unbelievably arrogant and stupid," he said. "I don't particularly want Southwest Colorado to look like Big Bend [Texas], but the climate is trying to push us in that direction." Gutzler said the primary source of carbon dioxide is burning fossil fuels, and the biggest and fastest-growing source of those is coal. "Sooner or later we will need to reduce emissions from fossil fuels," he said. "We may be burning less oil anyway, because there will be less oil to burn, but there's plenty of coal, so we'd better be developing sequestration techniques for those emissions. Gutzler's talk was followed by a lively question-and-answer session. Asked whether people would "boil" in the Four Corners, he said no. "There are places south of us that are 5 to 7 degrees warmer and people there don't boil. . . but our civilization is fairly well tuned to a stable climate. If the climate of Michigan starts to look like New Mexico in a century, that's a problem." Another questioner asked whether it wasn't preferable to have a warming trend than a cooling trend. Gutzler agreed. Orbital fluctations are believed to be the cause of periodic ice ages, he said, and there is one hypothesis that if people had not pumped so much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere so far, we would already be in the very early stages of another ice age. However, real cooling wouldn't happen for a millennium or so, whereas warming is occurring much faster. "Five degrees warmer is better than a kilometer of ice," Gutzler agreed, "but it's going to take a long time to form that kilometer of ice." Gutzler said anything that minimizes downstream storage and maximizes it at higher elevations would be good. "Make it legal and feasible to store water upriver," he said.

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