How are these three seemingly disparate topics related?
Oh, this is going to be an easy one, actually, per one of my semi-patented three-thread blog posts.
First, the Ferile Crescent largely ain’t, no more. (Video above from this link.)
Here’s the severity of the problem:
Scientists at the University of California, Irvine; NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.; and the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., found during a seven-year period beginning in 2003 that parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran along the Tigris and Euphrates river basins lost 117 million acre feet (144 cubic kilometers) of total stored freshwater. That is almost the amount of water in the Dead Sea. The researchers attribute about 60 percent of the loss to pumping of groundwater from underground reservoirs….
“Grace data show an alarming rate of decrease in total water storage in the Tigris and Euphrates river basins, which currently have the second fastest rate of groundwater storage loss on Earth, after India,” said Jay Famiglietti, principal investigator of the study and a hydrologist and professor at UC Irvine. “The rate was especially striking after the 2007 drought. Meanwhile, demand for freshwater continues to rise, and the region does not coordinate its water management because of different interpretations of international laws.”
Now, while groundwater pumping is causing most the problem, let’s remember this, per the late great Sam Kinison:
“Hey, Tigris, hey Euphrates! You flow through a fucking desert!”
And, of course, that leads to our second issue — global warming.
That sprawl of sand that covers the lower portions of the two rivers of biblical fame is only going to get hotter, and drier, in years and decades ahead. Note that Mr. Famiglietti mentions drought. There will be more of those.
Indeed, he talks about that further, here:
"They just do not have that much water to begin with, and they're in a part of the world that will be experiencing less rainfall with climate change," Famiglietti said. "Those dry areas are getting dryer. They and everyone else in the world's arid regions need to manage their available water resources as best they can."
|Steve Snyder Photoshopping.|
Please credit if you borrow
He also mentions lack of coordinated water management. And trust me, a Turkey without oil but a growing economy ain’t passing more of that water further south. And arguably, in the face of global warming, they may have a better argument for retaining more of it rather than passing it down.
Next, note that I, in turn, mentioned “of Biblical fame” in referring to these two rivers. That's because this is homeland of both Old Testament myth and legend, on the one hand, and for many millennialists, the heart of New Testament apocalypticism, on the other.
Ur of the Chaldees, home of Abraham of myth, at today’s Shatt al-Arab where the two rivers become one. Babel, of towering linguistic inferno fame, located in “the plain of Shinar,” but clearly believed by biblical mythologists to be at the site of the later Babylon. That’s as in “whore of,” in Revelation, the favorite book of Rapturites like Pat Robertson.
Add in the invasion of Iraq, and the Pat Buchanan named Christian Amen corner to the Israel lobby and the Jewish portion of neoconservatives, and can’t you see Pat Jerk and others touting this as indicating the End Times are near?
So, if you hear about red heifers, without spot or blemish, you know who warned you first.
On the more serious side, Nova has a two-hour special about this, and other things the latest earth satellites are teaching us, tonight.