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]