Centennial Museum gecko logo

Desert Diary
Climate/Hot Mountains


This page was designed with CSS, and looks best in a CSS-aware browser—which, unfortunately, yours is not. However, the document should still be readable, though not presented in the most sophisticated manner.

Those who study climatic warming expect a number of changes as the climate warms due to human release of greenhouse gases. Extreme storm events will increase, and while some areas for agriculture will be benefited, other croplands will dry out. Add to these effects the rising of the sea as water expands and glaciers melt, and it's easy to see why there is concern.

Closer to home, in our Chihuahuan Desert Region, the effects of increasing temperatures on our mountain islands may adversely affect highlands and lowlands alike. Among the important roles of our highland forests are the absorption and slow release of moisture. The impact of rain is lessened by falling on foliage, and rainwater and snow are absorbed into the organic forest floor. Percolating downward, water is added to the water table and slowly released into streams or available for use by vegetation. As our cold-adapted montane forests disappear, as they surely will, a new cycle of erosion and flooding will threaten the lowlands. Climatic warming does not promise to be benign to our Southwest.
pen and ink


Contributor: Arthur H. Harris, Laboratory for Environmental Biology, Centennial Museum, University of Texas at El Paso.

Desert Diary is a joint production of the Centennial Museum and KTEP National Public Radio at the University of Texas at El Paso.