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Works by B. Lynn Ingram

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"The West without Water" is a very readable book describing the historical climate of the Southwest United States going back for hundreds of thousands of years and more. Scientific temperature and rainfall records only go back for one hundred and fifty years or so, so evidence for the "normal" climate of the Southwest is based on proxy records. Proxies include analysis of tree-ring growth, bore holes, ice bores, radiocarbon dating techniques, chemical and microscopic analysis, lake bed analysis, etc. These secondary measurements give scientists clues as to regional temperatures and water availability from the past. But the book doesn't focus too heavily on these techniques, but just gives enough background into them to allow the reader to gain an understanding of why these techniques are used, and why they make sense.

The book also examines the history of the West, such as the Southwest native indian cultures such as the Anasazi pueblo and cliff dwellers, and shows how the regions natural draught cycles led to the collapse of their civilizations. The authors also describe what the evidence shows are the predominant climate cycles for the region, and how the recent settlement times of the Southwest, while dry, may have been much less dry than for historical norms.

Adequate water for the region is and remains a significant concern, and with increased population, increasing water demands, and with the climate reverting back to warmer and drier times, the water supply will only become more critical. Since such a significant portion of fresh vegetables, fruits and nuts are grown in the California region, adequate water supplies are critical not just for domestic use, but for agricultural use as well. With increasing competition for water, and a reduction of anticipated water supplies for the region, the problem is real and must be addressed. One part of addressing the problem is recognition and acceptance of the problem, and this book goes a long way to providing the background and possible solutions for water in the West.
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rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |

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