July 16 News: South And North Korea Facing Worst Drought On Record

North Korea dispatched soldiers to pour buckets of water on parched fields and South Korean officials scrambled to save a rare mollusk threatened by the heat as the worst dry spell in a century gripped the Korean Peninsula. [Associated Press]

Parts of both countries are experiencing the most severe drought since record-keeping began nearly 105 years ago, meteorological officials in Pyongyang and Seoul said Tuesday.

The protracted drought is heightening worries about North Korea’s ability to feed its people. Two-thirds of North Korea’s 24 million people faced chronic food shortages, the United Nations said earlier this month while asking donors for $198 million in humanitarian aid for the country.

Most of Central and Eastern Canada is experiencing extreme heat and little rain causing drought conditions, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada says. [CBC]

Preliminary data computed from the Palmer Drought Severity Index shows that 54.6 percent of the contiguous 48 states was in drought at the end of June, the highest percentage since December 1956, and the sixth-highest peak percentage on record. [Weather Channel]

As a relentless drought bakes prairie soil to dust and dries up streams across the country, ranchers struggling to feed their cattle are unloading them by the thousands, a wrenching decision likely to ripple from the Plains to supermarket shelves over the next year. [New York Times]

Nearly $25 million has already been spent to prepare for the immediate aftermath of this year’s wildfires, putting the U.S. Forest Service on track for another possible record year of spending on burned-area recovery efforts. [Huffington Post]

Sharper seasonal variations of ice and snow and temperature are being repeated all across the world from the Himalayas to the Andes, which scientists say are driven by a higher level of energy in the atmosphere from global warming. As a result, climbers have to think twice about what they might expect one year to the next, or even one day to the next, in places they might have climbed for decades. [New York Times]

China is building more eco-cities designed to be low-carbon and energy-saving than any other country, according to a survey by the University of Westminster in London. The USA ranked second. [USA Today]

7 Responses to July 16 News: South And North Korea Facing Worst Drought On Record

  1. Waterfall-like rain eases in southwest Japan, but 28 dead, thousands of homes damaged

    Look at the image gallery. The devastation is on par with last years Tsunami, just not that widespread.

  2. More than 900,000 affected in rainstorms

    EIJING – Torrential rain last week affected about 750,000 people in central China’s Hunan province, the provincial flood control and prevention headquarters said on Monday.
    Heavy rain have poured on Hunan since last Wednesday. A total of 175 counties and townships in the province have been affected, leaving 410 houses collapsed and inundating 21,100 hectares of cropland, it said.
    Meanwhile, the flood control and prevention headquarters of neighboring Jiangxi province announced on Monday that, as of Sunday morning, 168,700 people have been affected by rainstorms sweeping central and north areas of Jiangxi. The extreme weather has also led to the collapse of 49 houses.

  3. BillD says:

    North Koreans face starvation even when there is not a drought. It could get bad unless China or another country comes through with substantial food aid.

  4. scarecities says:

    I hope Obama doesn’t get the blame for this drought as well

  5. catman306 says:

    From commenter at Dr. Jeff Masters blog

    Peterman Glacier in Greenland Just Broke Off Ice Island 3X the Size of Manhattan

    Just happened today and is the “Breaking News” on many of the arctic blog sites.

  6. Merkel urges nations to act on climate change

    Failure to act on climate change will have dreadful consequences, Angela Merkel has warned. Diplomats from 35 nations gathered in Berlin to jump-start climate talks bogged down by deep rifts among UN member states.

    At the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, the German chancellor said that the current voluntary commitments to reduce emissions of gases may not prevent global mean temperatures from rising 3-4 degrees Celsius (5-7 degrees Fahrenheit). The current target is an increase of 2 degrees Celsius.

    “There’s nothing to be gained by playing for time,” Merkel said, delivering a keynote speech to open the major climate conference in Berlin on Monday.
    In advance of a UN climate conference in Qatar, Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah said his country is making efforts to cut its own carbon emissions, the highest per capita in the world. However, he also conceded that it would be “difficult” to get the nations of the world to unite behind action to cut the emissions that are a main cause of rising temperatures. “We need her in Qatar,” he said of Merkel.
    Work is currently under way on an international climate treaty to be signed by 2015 and go into effect by 2020. Merkel was Germany’s environment minister in the 1990s and helped negotiate the Kyoto Protocol.
    China and the United States, two of the world’s principal emitters, are part of the 35-nation panel.,,16101180,00.html