Sept. 14 News: Four Fifths Of U.S. Is Now In Some Form Of Drought

The severe drought across much of the U.S. proved stubborn once again during the past week as nearly four-fifths of the country was in some form of drought. And the area of the lower 48 states affected by moderate to exceptional drought expanded slightly, hitting a high for the year, according to data released Thursday morning. [Climate Central]

… moderate to exceptional drought covered a new high of 64.16 percent of the lower 48 states as of September 11….

… just 21.47 percent of the lower 48 states was drought free, which is down from 56.53 percent at the same time in 2011.

The drought is the worst to strike the U.S. since the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s and lengthy droughts of the 1950s. It came on suddenly and largely without warning, and although the main trigger was most likely a La Niña event in the tropical Pacific Ocean, the drought was exacerbated by extremely hot temperatures during the spring and summer. July, for example, was the hottest month on record in the U.S., and the summer was the third-hottest on record, narrowly losing out to 2011 and 1936. Climate studies have shown that the odds of severe heat waves are increasing due to manmade climate change.

Former Democratic governor Timothy M. Kaine appears in a chopper, hovering over the Virginia Hybrid Energy Coal plant, in a new ad touting what he calls his “comprehensive energy strategy.” [Washington Post]

A proposal to require Michigan to get 25% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025 has the support of 55% of likely voters, according to a poll for the Free Press, WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) and various news media outlets. [Detroit Free Press]

California and parts of the Bay Area are expecting the current West Nile virus season to be the worst in at least five years, with almost twice as many cases of the viral infection in humans so far compared with last year. [San Francisco Chronicle]

The U.S. Commerce Department on Thursday declared a national fishery disaster in New England, opening the door for tens of millions of dollars in relief funds for struggling fishermen and their ports. [Associated Press]

Energy officials in Maine say a tidal power project is delivering electricity to the U.S. power grid for the first time. [Washington Post]

Semprius Inc., a U.S. solar-panel maker, will open its first manufacturing plant this month in Henderson, North Carolina, countering the trend of solar factories shutting their doors. [Bloomberg]

Exxon Mobil Corp. has reported inadvertent emissions of large amounts of pollutants at its flagship refinery near Houston. [Associated Press]

The row within the UK government over energy policy has been reignited ahead of the party conference season, with the former Tory environment secretary Lord Deben taking on George Osborne over the controversial role of gas. [Guardian]

We all know spinach is a wonder food, but now scientists think it can not only boost your health, but also the efficiency of your solar panels. [Business Green]

10 Responses to Sept. 14 News: Four Fifths Of U.S. Is Now In Some Form Of Drought

  1. Dave Romm says:

    And with all this, the GOP-controlled House just failed to pass a farm bill, the first time this has happened in a long while. As is too often the case, the Republican infighting isn’t about what’s good for the country, it’s about how badly Republicans will be hurt in the election.

  2. Bob Doublin says:

    I’m curious when they would start saying Seattle is in a drought? We just finished the second longest period without rainfall on revord ~45 days,and we only had .02 inch,it looks like at least another week without rain. So since app. July 20 only .02 and the average would be about 1.25 give or take.(August average is .88)Before this dryspell we were running almost exactly 33% above average for the year to date. Given all this,what criteria would they use to determine when they might say this area is beginning to experience drought conditions? And why? The whole subject fascinates me and I was wondering what would make them change our white area on the map to the first level? Thanks.

  3. Eric Carrig says:

    I think you guys should prioritize your focus areas and develop a strategy for each in a way people can understand. Sadly, we live in a soundbyte world, and these long analyses are unfortunately the way of the past, It’s about solid, easy-to understand arguments with clear action plans. Petitions, polls, and likes are not actionable, so leaders can always ask for more — and get it from people who know how to make real arguments — corporations. Maybe a group like could help you.

  4. Joan Savage says:

    The drought monitor is a composite of several ways of measuring drought.

    The source page
    includes details of the classifications
    and links to the data sources that are used for assembling the index.

    It sounds like your area qualifies under some of the classifications.

    There’s also a contact option on the pull down menu at the source page, so you write them, too.

  5. Bob Doublin says:


  6. David B. Benson says:

    Even more smoke in the air today.

  7. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Sounds like climate instability in action. Drawing conclusions from a few months must be a long bow, but it is plain that climate predictability is so 20th century.

  8. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Actually it is far more about ‘lie-bytes’, tiny little morsels of untruth, misrepresentation, distortion and appeals to greed, fear and (the Big One on the Right) hate.

  9. Joan Savage says:

    UK Model to Better Predict Extreme Winters in Europe
    “Dubbed the ‘high-top’ system, it is different from the previous system as it takes into account phenomenon known as sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs), which have previously been shown to be responsible for cold surface conditions.”

    The peer-reviewed publication source is open access:

    Seasonal forecasts of northern hemisphere winter 2009/10

    D R Fereday, A Maidens, A Arribas, A A Scaife and J R Knight