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Red Snow Warning: The End of Welfare Water and the Drying of the West

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:17 AM
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Red Snow Warning: The End of Welfare Water and the Drying of the West
from TomDispatch:



Red Snow Warning
The End of Welfare Water and the Drying of the West

By Chip Ward


Pink snow is turning red in Colorado. Here on the Great American Desert -- specifically Utah's slickrock portion of it where I live -- hot 'n' dry means dust. When frequent high winds sweep across our increasingly arid landscape, redrock powder is lifted up and carried hundreds of miles eastward until it settles on the broad shoulders of Colorado's majestic mountains, giving the snowpack there a pink hue.

Some call it watermelon snow. Friends who ski into the backcountry of the San Juan and La Plata mountain ranges in western Colorado tell me that the pink-snow phenomenon has lately been giving way to redder hues, so thick and frequent are the dust storms that roll in these days. A cross-section of a typical Colorado snowbank last winter revealed alternating dirt and snow layers that looked like a weird wilderness version of our flag, red and white stripes alternating against the sky's blue field.

The Forecast: Dust Followed by Mud

Here in the lowlands, we, too, are experiencing the drying of the West in new dusty ways. Our landscapes are often covered with what we jokingly refer to as "adobe rain" -- when rain falls through dust, spattering windows or laundry hung out to dry with brown stains. After a dust "event" this past spring, I wandered through the lot of a car dealership in Grand Junction, Colorado, where the only color seemingly available was light tan. All those previously shiny, brightly painted cars had turned drab. I had to squint to read price stickers under opaque windows.

All of this is more than a mere smudge on our postcard-pretty scenery: Colorado's red snow is a warning that the climatological dynamic in the arid West is changing dramatically. Think of it as a harbinger -- and of more than simply a continuing version of the epic drought we've been experiencing these past several years. ...........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175113/chip_ward_the_ru... (the article follows an intro titled "Tomgram: Chip Ward, The Ruins in Our Future" )





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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:59 AM
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1. this happened in the midwest during the late 70`s
the "official" name of this phenomenon was called "snirt"
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