“In contrast to the Southeast United States in which global warming will bring a minor boon away from the coastlines, the Southwest will experience destruction and devastation to a lifestyle that had become emblematic of the American West.”
The Southwest United States in 2100 under the Business-As-Usual model of expansive fossil fuel use and deforestation, with Arctic ice cap melting every 5-10 years. This region of the country will suffer the most dramatic changes to the most highly populated areas of the Western United States. In contrast to the Southeast in which global warming will bring a minor boon away from the coastlines, the Southwest will experience destruction and devastation to a lifestyle that had become emblematic of the American West.
A close-up of the newly-created coastal deserts in Southern California. From Los Angeles south past, San Diego and beyond the coastal regions, home to 10’s of millions of people by 2100 will be uninhabitable wasteland. Nothing. Nothing can stop this process from occurring under the Business-As-Usual scenario of increased fossil fuel consumption in all its forms, deforestation, coupled with global warming trends to 6-8ºF. Many of the Channel Islands will be made uninhabitable and deforested by 2100, turning into sandy lots.
The Central Southwest will become desert. There is no other way to put it. Desert. From El Paso, north to Denver. From Albuquerque and Santa Fe, east to Wichita. A vast desert by 2100 with patches of vegetation, here and there. The former “breadbasket” of the United States will move further north, and spill into Canada. Cattle land will be gone.
The Biodiversity Intactness Index for The Southwest United States shows devastation so severe by 2016 that the loss throughout Texas and New Mexico seems insurmountable. It is this same area – not surprisingly – that is scheduled for crop suitability losses of -50% or more and the creation of extensive desertification by 2100. Science 353:288-29