Drought is one of the most pernicious impacts of global warming. Because it often doesn’t get the attention from big media that it deserves, I try to report on it regularly.
The drought in the Southeast is so brutal, though, it has come to the attention of the New York Times and AP – not that it would occur to either to even mention the possibility that climate change is playing a role in such a profound drought, or that such droughts are likely to become much more common (standard fare from the NYT, as we’ve seen).
And count on the media (AP) to even find an upside to even such a catastrophe. But first, the downside, from the NYT:
For the first time in more than 100 years, much of the Southeast has reached the most severe category of drought, climatologists said Monday, creating an emergency so serious that some cities are just months away from running out of water….
In the Atlanta metropolitan area, which has more than four million people, worst-case analyses show that the city’s main source of water, Lake Lanier, could be drained dry in 90 to 121 days….
The situation has gotten so bad that by all of [state climatologist David] Stooksbury’s measures — the percentage of moisture in the soil, the flow rate of rivers, inches of rain — this drought has broken every record in Georgia’s history….
Within two weeks, Carol Couch, director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, is expected to send Gov. Sonny Perdue recommendations on tightening water restrictions, which may include mandatory cutbacks on commercial and industrial users.
If that happens, experts at the National Drought Mitigation Center said, it would be the first time a major metropolitan area in the United States had been forced to take such drastic action to save its water supply.
So how could there be any upside? Never fear, the AP is here:
There is a silver lining of sorts in the middle of the drought: Guides say the lake’s fishing is as good as ever, if not better.
“Less water, less places to hide, I guess,” said Chuck Biggers, a guide who has roamed the lake’s waters for four years.
Just imagine how great the fishing will be when the lake is completely dried up. Seriously — you can’t make this stuff up — well, Jon Stewart can, but why bother when big media does it by itself.
I don’t think the media looks for the upside of major hurricanes or earthquakes. Droughts appear to be different:
For the better part of 18 months, cloudless blue skies and high temperatures have shriveled crops and bronzed lawns from North Carolina to Alabama, quietly creating what David E. Stooksbury, the state climatologist of Georgia, has dubbed “the Rodney Dangerfield of natural disasters,” a reference to that comedian’s repeated lament that he got “no respect.”
“People pay attention to hurricanes,” Mr. Stooksbury said. “They pay attention to tornadoes and earthquakes. But a drought will sneak up on you.”
Kind of like global warming itself!