Climate change or return to climate norm?

Vice President Kamala Harris used the white ring around Lake Mead as a visual for her claim that the federal government must spend trillions of dollars to combat climate change.

In reporting on the Monday event, the morning newspaper flatly stated, “Over the past 20 years, Lake Mead’s water level has declined by about 150 feet amid climate change-fueled drought conditions.”

Or might the current conditions be a return to normal after about of century of wetter than normal?

According to a 2006 University of Arizona study of 508 years of tree ring data, the past 100-year period was wetter than the average for the past five centuries.

Connie A. Woodhouse, who led the research team, said, “The updated reconstruction for Lee’s Ferry (on the Colorado River) indicates that as many as eight droughts similar in severity, in terms of average flow, to the 5-year 2000-2004 drought have occurred since 1500.” Woodhouse was at the time a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center Paleoclimatogy Branch in Boulder, Colo.

The newspaper quoted the vice president as saying, “And it is critical that we as a nation understand that we have within our hands, within our possession, the ability to actually change the course of where we’re headed. … Just look out at this lake. … This is where we’re headed.”

Or is it where we’ve been as well? Vice President Kamala Harris speaks as Congresswoman Dina Titus, left, and Representative Susie Lee look on while at Lake Mead on Monday. (R-J pix)
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