Brutal Drought Where It’s Normally Wet

One comment on my already infamous “Global Warming Imperils 4th of July” post reads:

What Joe also likes to do is select areas of the US that are most likely to be in drought and portray drought events in these areas as unusual or lay blame on rep. politicians from those states.

No. I do occasionally point about droughts where conservative global warming denyers come from, just for irony’s sake. But we’ve been seeing severe droughts in quite unusual places, which is suggestive of — though not proof of — the hand of climate change.

Consider today’s New York Times article, “Drought Saps the Southeast, and Its Farmers,” which notes:

The region’s most severe drought in over a century has farmers here averting their gaze from a future that looks as bleak as their fields.

They run an amazing graphic of the unusual drought:


The commenter (hippie with a pistol) thoughtfully provided a link to a U.S. map of the “percent of time in severe and extreme drought, 1895 to 1995,” which makes clear that most of this region rarely gets anywhere near this dry:


The breadth of the drought — and the fact that it’s in the biggest region of the country (by far) that rarely gets severe droughts — is doubly ominous and doubly suggestive of climate change.

I would also note that the first time I pointed out a severe-drought-in-a-state-harboring-a-Denyer was Oklahoma, represented by Denyer-in-Chief Sen. James Inhofe. Now like everyone else, including apparently hippie with a pistol, I would have thought Oklahoma is quite drought prone, but in fact it isn’t, as the map above shows.

Thanks for the great link, hippie. Keep shootin’ blanks (it’s safer that way)!

4 Responses to Brutal Drought Where It’s Normally Wet

  1. hippie with a pistol says:

    The SE has also been on a cooling trend. Imagine that. If I had time I would point all kinds of “unusual places” where severe droughts have occured on record. Another day…

  2. Joe says:

    That is a non sequitor. Nice try.

  3. hippie with a pistol says:

    1. okay, you don’t directly blame rep poiliticians from drought states, but they are not blaming drought events that are typical for their climates on AGW. So you are blaming AGW in part on what you call their denial. But I should have said you attack them with climate data that is typical for their region.

    2. You have not addressed my spatial extent argument.

    3. The SE has experienced severe drought 5-10% over the past 100+ years. I would not say that frequency rate is low. Nor does it signal that SE droughts are unlikely events. Nice try!

    I’ll provide the actual drought record of the SE if you wish to bring it up again.

  4. hot & dry in NC says:

    Long-term cooling? Really? Sitting in the Raleigh, NC area, we’ve lost track of all the records that have been broken this year. Most days over 90, latest day over 90, most days over 100, least rain, hottest [pick a month] ever… We have a great weather guy on one of the TV stations who tracked down all the records, and it’s stunning. Also still shorts weather in late October.

    We’re way overdue for some short-term cooling.

    I know, weather and climate aren’t the same thing. But something’s going on here. Every once in a while, we get someone complaining that people who move here shouldn’t complain about the heat (“it’s the South, it’s supposed to get hot”). But when we break all the records, we’re well beyond the realm of what’s supposed to happen here.