Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Who took my microclimate???

The second home has become a mainstream asset over the past 40 years. No longer restricted to the elite, the vacation home - located in a place with a climate that offered relief from wherever your first home happened to be - is now as much of the American lifestyle as boat-owning, the multi-car family and having the latest TV technology. But one of the first social effects of climate change in the U.S. may be the abandonment of the getaway.

Take Summerhaven, Arizona on Mount Lemon, for example, looming 9,000 feet over Tuscon - for years offering cool relief from summer in the city below. People built homes, towns, precious little tourist areas with shops and restaurants. They'd created a permanent community where only ancient native Americans had camped temporarily before. A month-long fire in 2003 - fueled by dead, beetle-infested pines whose fatal arc was started by drought and unusually warm temperatures, took out many of the cabins and commercial buildings.

Now, according to an article in the NY Times (registration required), climate change may be about to convince most of the remaining hardcore residents to abandon their erstwhile paradise.

One resident was quoted: “We used to have four seasons. Now we have two. I love this place dearly, and this is very hard for me to watch.”

“A lot of people think climate change and the ecological repercussions are 50 years away,” said Thomas W. Swetnam, director of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “But it’s happening now in the West. The data is telling us that we are in the middle of one of the first big indicators of climate change impacts in the continental United States.”
This blog isn't jumping the gun at all. We're right on time.

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