New Mexico could be on forefront for climate change | KOB 4

New Mexico could be on forefront for climate change Web Staff
January 11, 2018 06:53 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Some scientists say New Mexico could be getting a front row seat to climate change. On Thursday, Albuquerque's mayor says he is taking action to fight it.


Much of the talk about climate change centers on rising sea levels. But if you think that New Mexico's high elevation makes it a safe zone for the future, Professor David Gutzler says not so fast.

"Temperatures across the southwest for the past 40 years or so are warmer by about 3 degrees Fahrenheit"

Gutzler is a climate scientist UNM studying the amount of snowpack the state is getting.

"The first and biggest effect is the effect on snowpack," he said.

The Land of Enchantment finally got a delivery of snow this week. Gutzler says with the warmer temperatures, the snow will evaporate more quickly. That means less water in the rivers and the faucets.

"New Mexico features the southernmost snow-fed rivers in North America. So from a snowpack and streamflow perspective, we are likely to see some of the biggest and first changes across the continent."

Gutzler has a prediction for the metro. He says if things don't change. You only need to look at El Paso to get a glimpse of Albuquerque's future. The Texas town to the south is marked by much hotter temperatures and tree-less mountains.

"We will need to be ever more diligent and careful how we manage water," he said.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller cited climate change as he called for the city to reduce its carbon footprint and asked other New Mexico cities to follow suit in joining the Paris climate agreement.

"This means inventorying greenhouse gas emissions, setting achievable reduction targets, and putting a plan in place to meet those goals," he said.

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