England is known as one of the wettest countries in the world. But paradoxically, the government is telling Londoners to conserve water and energy due to a prolonged drought in the country. The first drought order in England and Wales since 1995 will ban the non-essential use of water. Other countries reporting droughts in 2006 include: Australia, Canada, Africa, Central and NE USA and others.
Looking into the future, the picture isn’t any rosier for skiers, farmers and anyone who drinks water-in other words –all of humanity
According to a study released today by the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, by the end of the century:
".....the Andes in South America will have less than half their current winter snowpack, mountain ranges in Europe and the U.S. West will have lost nearly half of their snow-bound water, and snow on New Zealand's picturesque snowcapped peaks will all but have vanished.
Such is the dramatic forecast from a new, full-century model that offers detail its authors call "an unprecedented picture of climate change." The decline in winter snowpack means less spring and summer runoff from snowmelt. That translates to unprecedented pressure on people worldwide who depend on summertime melting of the winter snowpack for irrigation and drinking water.
Hardest hit are mountains in temperate zones where temperatures remain freezing only at increasingly higher elevations, said Steven J. Ghan, staff scientist at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and lead author of a study describing the model in the current Journal of Climate. PNNL scientist Timothy Shippert was co-author.
Alaska in 2100 will maintain but 64 percent of its year 2000 snowpack. In Europe, the Alps will be at 61 percent and Scandinavia56 percent. The Sierras, Cascades and southern Rockies will be at 57 percent of current levels. The Andeswill drop to 45. And Mt.Cook and its snowcapped neighbors in New Zealandwill be much less scenic at 16 percent of current.
On the Left, Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa
So what can we do right now?
According to the BBC today:
"There are growing calls for gas and electricity meters to be dusted off, brought out from the cupboard underneath the stairs, and given pride of place in people's living rooms and kitchens.
Advocates of so-called "smart meters" say the information provided by the devices can revolutionise the way households consume energy, and can reduce demand by up to 10%."
The screen displays a list of appliances in the home and the amount of energy each one is currently using. It can be switched to show how much the electricity is costing or the estimated carbon emissions. (Image: More Associates)
The red bar shows the amount of electricity that is currently being used. The blue graph shows the pattern of electricity consumption over a period of time. (Image: More Associates)
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