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  • APOCALYPSE NOW:

    Global warming threatens California

    By Maggie Fox

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - California will become hotter and drier by the end of the century, menacing the valuable wine and dairy industries, even if dramatic steps are taken to curb global warming, researchers said on Monday.

    The first study to specifically forecast the impact of global warming on a U.S. state also shows the snowpack melting in the Sierra Nevada mountains, more frequent heat waves hitting Los Angles and disruptions to crop irrigation.

    Researchers from the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology in Stanford, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and elsewhere ran scenarios through new computer models of global warming.

    All predicted California's weather would be hotter and drier, but this would be worse if only weak action is taken to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases contributing to warming the planet.

    "We are already in a situation where we have seen some warming and we have seen some impacts," said Carnegie's Christopher Field, who led the study.

    "If we stay on higher emissions trajectory, there will be consequences over the coming decades that are truly, truly serious and something I think reasonable people would be doing whatever they could to avoid," he said in a telephone interview.

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