Archive for Monday, July 16, 2012

US drought grows to cover widest area since 1956

July 16, 2012


— The drought gripping the United States is the widest since 1956, according to new data released Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Fifty-five percent of the continental U.S. was in a moderate to extreme drought by the end of June, NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., said in its monthly State of the Climate drought report. That's the largest percentage since December 1956, when 58 percent of the country was covered by drought.

This summer, 80 percent of the U.S. is abnormally dry, and the report said the drought expanded in the West, Great Plains and Midwest last month with the 14th warmest and 10th driest June on record.

The nation's corn and soybean belt has been especially hard hit over the past three months, the report said. That region has experienced its seventh warmest and 10th driest April-to-June period.

"Topsoil has dried out and crops, pastures and rangeland have deteriorated at a rate rarely seen in the last 18 years," the report said.

The report is based on a data set going back to 1895 called the Palmer Drought Index, which feeds into the widely watched and more detailed U.S. Drought Monitor. It reported last week that 61 percent of the continental U.S. was in a moderate to exceptional drought. However, the weekly Drought Monitor goes back only 12 years, so climatologists use the Palmer Drought Index for comparing droughts before 2000.

In southern Illinois' Effingham County, Kenny Brummer is facing a double whammy — the drought has savaged the 800 acres of corn he grows for his 400 head of cattle and some 30,000 hogs, leaving him scrambling to find the couple of hundred thousand bushels of feed he'll need.

"Where am I going to get that from? You have concerns about it every morning when you wake up," Brummer, 59, said Monday. "The drought is bad, but that's just half of the problem on this farm."

AP reporter Jim Suhr contributed to this story from Waltonville, Ill.


hyperinflate 5 years, 6 months ago

Move along. Nothing to see here. Keep 'er moving. That's a good people.

Joe Hyde 5 years, 6 months ago

ATTENTION KMart Shoppers: The book "The Worst Hard Time", by Timothy Egan -- a National Book Award Winner -- makes for interesting bedtime reading for people curious what daily life can be like when the land upon which you live physically disintregrates under conditions of extended drought and relentless dust storms.

Graczyk 5 years, 6 months ago

I am reading that right now. Egan borders on cheesy every now and then but it otherwise a great narrator.

parrothead8 5 years, 6 months ago

Or you could read a better-researched and more thorough book that came out over 25 years earlier, Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s, by Donald Worster.

Graczyk 5 years, 6 months ago

I like Worster, too. He's a real gem to have around KU.

Lathrup 5 years, 6 months ago

Here Naysayers. No global warming eh? Have another plate of dust. And here's some damp mug we scraped from the bottom of the pond to wash it down.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 6 months ago

Don't tell me you think that all the data supporting the reality of global warming is a conspiracy. What kind of weather accompanies climate change? Heat waves, flooding, droughts, etc. just come more frequently and more intensely, which they are. You might start educating yourself by reading the predictions here:

hujiko 5 years, 6 months ago

You've missed the point. Weather does not equate to climate and people that deny global warming/climate change because it is "cold outside," are just as bad as people that affirm it when it is "hot outside."

Liberal's question is fair, if this scale and severity of drought today was caused by climate change, how can you explain the same size drought over fifty years ago when climate change was implicitly less advanced? How about larger or more intense drought events prior to our use of fossil fuels?

hujiko 5 years, 6 months ago

Reply was to DougCounty. As for politics, they have no place in a discussion about climate change. However it will only be through a consortium of governments and private enterprise that any real policy shifts will take place. We can embrace reality while shaping it ourselves.

I do have to ask though, if your position is "who cares," why did you take any time to comment, let alone three times? More than anybody else in this thread thus far I might add.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 6 months ago

hujiko, The link I provided above answers your question in depth. But the short and overly simple answer to your question is that climatologists have predicted that globally the number and intensity of heat waves and droughts will increase, which has been borne out by the data, and will continue to do so. I can provide you with more background once you have read the IPCC link if you're interested.

hujiko 5 years, 6 months ago

He said both... "more frequently and more intensely," and this drought is still minor compared to the decade of drought in the 1930s. Also I'm well aware that the debate is about anthropogenic climate change; but climates have and will continue to change with or without human input. I'd say nature is at fault as well as human beings. However, arguing about who to blame for what isn't going to solve any real problems. We need practical, pragmatic solutions that are vested equally among all countries, companies, families, etc.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 6 months ago

Personally, I think it's silly to think that any one country should use another country's action or lack of action as an excuse to not do anything themselves, since we are all on the same planet. The US could provide so much more world leadership in this arena of renewables, energy efficiency, community designs for low carbon futures, etc. and we have the resources that many other countries don't have. If we're not careful and continue to delay, we're going to get picked apart by those who read the writing on the wall and got in gear. Remember Detroit?

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 6 months ago

This scares me. It seems like so many things are going bad at once.
Read Dune to see how the Fremen dealth with this problem. The Grapes Of Wrath still makes me cry when I read it. I will read Egan's book and I thank you for telling us about it. Joe, why do you think it is that people never seem to learn from those that have gone before? Even if Steinbecks book is fiction it is still true.

JackMcKee 5 years, 6 months ago

It's not getting any better. Check the forecast. Ridiculous weather this year.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 6 months ago

Third drought year, and more to come. Our governor needs to help western Kansas with alternative crops. Another year af this, and the water table will be too low for irrigation.

Jonathan Fox 5 years, 6 months ago

Free markets would result in skyrocketing prices that no one could afford and would bankrupt every farmer and collapse the system entirely before a balanced free market of supply and demand could be achieved.

Crazy_Larry 5 years, 6 months ago

LOL! Farmers know what they're doing. They're smart people--connected to the Earth. They grow corn in western Kansas. It isn't like they haven't seen this coming for decades. What in the h-e-double-toothpicks will #heblowsalot do for them? Pray for rain?

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

Realize Climate Change is here.

The Earth is warming and human activity is the primary cause. Climate disruptions put our food and water supply at risk, endanger our health, jeopardize our national security, and threaten other basic human needs. Some impacts—such as record high temperatures, melting glaciers, and severe flooding and droughts—are already becoming increasingly common across the country and around the world. So far, our national leaders are failing to act quickly to reduce heat-trapping emissions.

However, there is much we can do to protect the health and economic well-being of current and future generations from the consequences of the heat-trapping emissions caused when we burn coal, oil, and gas to generate electricity, drive our cars, and fuel our businesses.

Our country is at a crossroads: the United States can act responsibly and seize the opportunity to lead by developing new, innovative solutions, as well as immediately putting to use the many practical solutions we have at our disposal today; or we can choose to do nothing and deal with severe consequences later. At UCS we believe the choice is clear. It is time to push forward toward a brighter, cleaner future.

  • Evidence Check: Which Extreme Weather Events Are More Linked with Climate Change – Heat Waves or Hurricanes?, Brenda Ekwurzel


  • Cooler Smarter: Practical Steps for Low-Carbon Living

What is Global Warming? When CO2 and other heat-trapping emissions are released into the air, they act like a blanket, holding heat in our atmosphere and warming the planet. Overloading our atmosphere with carbon has far-reaching effects for people everywhere.

Learn more: Union of Concerned Scientists

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

Big Picture Solutions

solutions to global warmingWho can reduce global warming emissions? We can—together. Our individual efforts are important, but the biggest impact on climate change will come from large-scale changes—well-reasoned international policies; thoughtful, systematic efforts to reduce polluting fossil fuel energy sources and unsound land use practices; and steady progress toward a green, sustainable future.

By enlisting the support of policy makers and calling on industry to reduce pollution, we can have a measurable impact now—and a profound impact in the long run. With your support, UCS finds practical big-picture solutions to avert the worst consequences of global warming.

In the articles listed below, learn about legislative efforts and proven, realistic programs and policies to reduce global warming emissions and transition to a clean energy economy.


* Steps the EPA Must Take to Reduce Global Warming Emissions
* The Clean Air Act
* Regulating Toxic Pollutants from Power Plants under the Clean Air Act
* UCS at the Climate Talks in Durban
* Cutting Sulfur dioxide (SO2) and Nitrogen oxides (NOx) from Power Plants under the Clean Air Act
* Attack on the Clean Air Act
* Report from the Cancún Climate Conference
* Post-Election 2010: Next Steps for Climate
* International Deployment of Clean Technologies: A Smart Investment for the United States
* Investing in Clean Technology is Investing in Green Jobs
* Clean Technology Brings Significant Global Security Benefits
* Watch UCS at Copenhagen
* California and Western States Global Warming 101
* Top 10 Benefits of Climate Action
* Global Warming Crossroads: Choosing the Sensible Path to a Clean Energy Economy
* Common Sense on Climate Change: Practical Solutions to Global Warming

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

Below are 10 reasons for strong action to promote clean energy and curb climate change.

  1. Helping Avoid the Runaway Costs of Climate Change /
  2. Creating Jobs /
  3. Competing Internationally /
  4. Improving Public Health /
  5. Saving Households and Businesses Money /
  6. Enhancing National and Global Security /
  7. Providing Benefits to Farmers /
  8. Delivering Benefits to Low-income Households /
  9. Preserving Vital Ecosystems and Species /
  10. Conserving Water Resources and Clean Water /

Union of Concerned Scientists

gorilla10 5 years, 6 months ago

You're not cool if you don't have yellow grass!! Sure global warming plays its part in this weather but the country has seen worse people. Many, many years ago before global warming was even a factor. In the last couple of years we have seen a big time winter with record snowfall, last winter with record high temps and basically no snow, and hot dry summers setting record highs with little rain, as well as severe weatherall over the place. There were even big time floods up north last summer causing flooding around here on the Missouri river. This is what happens people. No year is ever the same.....

fiddleback 5 years, 6 months ago

That's cute-- I love how you act out your species and age. "Me see weird weather, but not all hot. No blame global warming; blame crazy monkey gods rolling random dice..."

Do you mind if we tap the glass a bit so you'll act out some more?

gorilla10 5 years, 6 months ago

YES!!! You get it also. Even the gorillas understand that it's not that complicated. Quit looking so much into it.....just another hot dry summer!

Ken Lassman 5 years, 6 months ago

...and another, and another, and another...

Curtis Lange 5 years, 6 months ago

This summer has nothing to do with "global warming." :rolls eyes at the alarmists:

tbaker 5 years, 6 months ago

Amen. It is an unusually hot, dry summer. End of story.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 6 months ago

Why do I keep seeing the ghosts of the Joads?

verity 5 years, 6 months ago

To those declaring that the current hot summer and drought has nothing to do with global warming---I will repeat something we used to say when I was a child---who died and made you God? You can question whether it does, but you don't know that for a fact.

Maybe we can't do anything about it, but to take the fingers in the ears approach rather than trying to use our brains will mean that the time may well have passed that we can do something about it. If you've studied history and the natural sciences, you know that it doesn't take much to tip the balance of earth's climate and it can happen very fast.

Farming practices current in the thirties made the situation worse. The farmers learned from that. There is a cyclic effect and once cropland has turned to desert, it's hard, if not impossible, to reverse the effects.

Also, insurance doesn't fix everything for the farmer. We will see more of the family farms going out of business---and, yes, there are still family farms even though they may have incorporated.

Doesn't matter how much money you have when there's no food to buy.

tbaker 5 years, 6 months ago

Fact: The earth’s climate has constantly gone through periods of warming and cooling. The latest scientific data suggests that we may actually be entering a period of global cooling.

Fact: CO2 is likely not the major cause of the global warming trend over the last one hundred sixty years we have been able to take reasonably accurate measurements of so-called global average temperature. Even if carbon dioxide was the cause, there isn’t much we could do about it. Manmade CO2 accounts for a very tiny percentage of atmospheric CO2. (<.04%). There is a much stronger correlation between solar output and global temperatures.

Fact: There is not a scientific consensus that man is the primary cause of global warming. A group of over 140 scientists and researchers recently gathered at the IPCC to sign a declaration stating that there is no convincing evidence to suggest that CO2 emissions from modern industrial activity cause climate change and called upon world leaders to abandon all efforts to reduce emissions. Over 31,000 scientists have signed a petition stating that there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of greenhouse gases activity is causing global warming.

Fact: There is no scientific proof that proposed global warming “solutions” will have any impact upon the climate. These proposed “solutions” rely upon extremely intrusive government controls designed to reduce our energy consumption, thereby significantly increasing the cost of energy and the price of nearly all goods and services produced within our economy, as businesses pass these costs onto consumers. History is rife with examples of Federal Government programs failing.

Fact: Seventh grade physics shows that CO2's molecular weight makes it very heavy. It can't rise high enough to cause the greenhouse effect. Yes, there is a greenhouse effect, but it's mostly caused by water vapor (the stuff clouds are made out of) because H2O is much lighter than CO2.

Fact: College freshman statistics will show you that the error rate in temperature samples used to calculate the so-called global average temperature is greater than the claimed temperature rise.

Fact: Glaciers in Greenland have recently been shown to be getting thicker, not thinner. Same with Antarctic ice, which is never mentioned by warming alarmists.

Fact: Sunspot activity is in a cycle in which it reduces warming radiation from the sun. This is actually causing a cooling cycle right now.

Fact: Back in the 70’s, the same government-connected scientists and insiders were trying to scare us with the coming ice age. Remember that?

Fact: Volcanoes and the ocean are by FAR larger sources of CO2 and other "greenhouse" gases. Many, many, many multiples of the amounts we exhaust.

Fact: NASA and IPCC scientists were actually caught faking "warming" data, and concealing information that contradicts the popular dogma from the alarmists. If "Global Warming" is true, why fudge figures?

deec 5 years, 6 months ago

Funny how there are no citations whatsoever for any of these "facts", yet those who believe there is evidence for climate change consistently cite well-researched studies from the scientific community.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 6 months ago

Furthermore, his "facts" are recycled from earlier posts, which were thoroughly rebutted with no real response then. tbaker seems to belong to the "if you repeat a lie often enough, people will start to believe you" school of information sharing.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 6 months ago

Here is a list of Kansas water authority links. More numerous, than one could imagine. Then, there is the charge to land grant institutions like K State to research agricultural challenges in Kansas. Yes, the governor should be paying attention. Managing a drought requires more than individual efforts.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 6 months ago

We have to deal with what is happening. Managing our way through this drought should not depend on our political leanings. This is still a serious drought. It affects our food supply, our water supply, and the major industry in Kansas.

blindrabbit 5 years, 6 months ago

Suggest calling the oil slurpping U.S. Senator James Mountain Inhofe of Oklahoma and ask him how his state (Oklahoma) is doing with the drought the past 3 years. Onhofe is so clouded by big oil and conservative religious nonsense that he has become the primary refuter of Climate Change or Global Warming or whatever. Unfortunalely, he has enough clout in the Senate through his leadership and seniority that nothing gets done. What a tool.

JackMcKee 5 years, 6 months ago

To quote Der Spiegel, "Mr. Inhofe, you are ridiculous"

JackMcKee 5 years, 6 months ago

Japan is having terrible floods. AGW is not just about warming, it's about climate extremes. A few winters back we had multiple blizzards. The last two summers have been scorchingly hot. Are these just weather patterns or part of larger change in the overall climate? It's really impossible to tell from such a small sample size, but these are the exact weather patterns that scientists have said would be the harbingers of global climate change.

Chris Golledge 5 years, 6 months ago

There is a bit more in-depth discussion of the topic here, complete with arguments from both sides here, if anyone is interested. The site backs claims with actual research papers, for the most part, and the site is moderated to reduce the nonsensical chatter.

Short summary, this is a high dice roll in the context of playing with dice loaded to roll higher.

verity 5 years, 6 months ago

Thank you for that link, cg. I'll study it more when I have more time, but it looks really interesting.

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