Researchers revisit the Cadillac Desert

photo of cacti amidst the landscape of a hot, arid desert in the western United StatesNCEAS Center Fellow John L. Sabo and other researchers revisit the 25-year-old claims of Marc Reisner's Cadillac Desert: The American West and its disappearing water. Using modern scientific tools and mapping technologies, the group found his conclusions for the most part to be accurate and scientifically correct. Their findings, "Reclaiming freshwater sustainability in the Cadillac Desert" were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Reclaiming freshwater sustainability in the Cadillac Desert
J.L. Sabo T. Sinha, L.C. Bowling, G.H.W. Schoups, W.W. Wallender, M.E. Campana, K.A. Cherkauer, P.L. Fuller, W.L. Graf, J.W. Hopmans, J.S. Kominoski, C. Taylor, S.W. Trimble, R.H. Webb, E.E. Wohl
Proceedings of the National Academies of Science 107, p.21263 (Dec 2010)

Following is a sample of the media coverage of this research and its implications:
NY Times: Scientists See the Southwest as First Major U.S. Climate Change Victim (Dec 14, 2010)
Miller-McCune: Greening the Desert? Not So Fast! (May 6, 2011)
Miller-McCune: Water Shortages Threaten the American West Lifestyle (May 13, 2011)
Scientific American: Desert Southwest May Be First U.S. Victim of Climate Change (Dec 14, 2010)
Atlanta Journal-Constitution op-ed: Entire Southeast needs a new strategy for conserving water (Dec 21, 2010)
KNAU Arizona Public Radio interview
HORIZON Eight (AZ PBS) broadcast: Water in the West

Summary of the related NCEAS research project.

More information about the Working Group participants and publications.

NCEAS News and Announcements

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest research, calls for proposals, stories, and opportunities at NCEAS.
Posted on June 20, 2011