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Forecast: Drought And More Drought

By Joe Romm  

"Forecast: Drought And More Drought"

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Two charts tell the story. First, here’s last week’s U.S. Drought Monitor:

David Miskus of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center explains why this drought persists:

a persistent ridge of high pressure located over the central Rockies kept the Southwest, Great Basin, and southern halves of the Rockies and Plains unseasonably mild and dry. The weakened Pacific storm systems were diverted northeastward into south-central Canada by the ridge, then southeastward by the eastern trough into the northern Plains, lower Missouri Valley, the Delta, and across the Southeast.

No doubt this persistent high-pressure system and the prolonged drought are just more coincidental weather events in this year of record low Arctic sea ice and coincidental uber-extreme events (see Arctic Death Spiral: How It Favors Extreme, Prolonged Weather Events “Such As Drought, Flooding, Cold Spells And Heat Waves“).

The three-month drought outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center isn’t pretty:

Sadly, the scientific literature makes clear this is going to be the new normal in the coming decades for the U.S. Southwest and “Breadbasket of the World” if we don’t rapidly and sharply reverse global carbon pollution trends:

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15 Responses to Forecast: Drought And More Drought

  1. Paul Magnus says:

    I dont think many of even the most enlightened of us realized what the chaotic changes in weather really mean for the immediate future of humanity.

    Here in the NW we have just had a crazy wobble in the weather again and now lots of local crops are flooded and sodden, again.

    This has been happening locally on a regular basis now for the last few years. Farmers here are beginning to crumble under this regime.

  2. Mond from Oz says:

    Joe, I have a problem with your comment “if we don’t rapidly and sharply reverse global carbon pollution trends” The only trend we can sharply reverse is surely the rate of increase in emissions. And if, amazingly, that were reduced to 1%, we’d still be doubling what’s out there in 70 years.

    I say “amazingly” because of the continuing momentum of the carbon economy. Australia is shipping coal out – to China and India and post-Fukushima Japan, at a rapidly increasing rate.

    I see a lot of stuff from the pollies about how we can reduce the rate of emissions, and that’s all good. But it’s the level of CO2 that’s out there already – close to 400ppmv – which lies behind the catastrophic droughts, floods, temperature anomalies that we see now. And as I understand it, as we move, irreversibly, toward equilibrium over the next few thousand years, matters can only get worse.

    I guess we *could* stop burning carbon, now. And maybe we *could* plant trees by the million. But I doubt we will.

    • Jack Burton says:

      Yes OZ, the Australian coal boom is meant to feed the Asian economies new and growing coal power plant boom. This is what is responsible for the huge increase in their CO2 emissions, China has well past the USA in the emissions total. The rate of CO2 rise is increasing, this is the absolute opposite of what is needed. In fact it is a death sentence, a suicide pact between coal producers and coal burners.
      I hear how bad things are, but each and every report always comes with a “But, if we reduce emissions….” Come on! Look at the data, we are NOT reducing emissions, we are going full blast into increasing emissions.
      The polar ice melt this year and the wild extreme weather of the past two years is telling us we have already done the damage.
      The world’s powers and their economies are worried about growth and getting people into jobs. This takes energy, this takes coal, oil and natural gas. Every state is desperate to grow their economy. Energy is the key input to growth.
      Let us be real, nobody is willingly going to reduce emissions, in fact their one goal is to increase them, thus getting economic growth.
      Population growth, economic growth, standard of living growth, these drive the present human position. To carry out this, we burn fossil fuels. We recently hit 400PPM in the northern hemisphere last spring, this is a catastrophic level. It will, in a decade, be high enough to give us run away feed backs, run away climate. Forget the models, they are decades behind the real world situation!
      My advice, “It is now time to panic>”

  3. Colorado Bob says:

    Four African girls have created a generator that produces electricity for six hours using a single liter of urine as fuel.
    The generator was unveiled at last week’s Maker Faire in Lagos, Nigeria, by the four teens Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, and Faleke Oluwatoyin, all age 14, and Bello Eniola, 15.

    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/urine-powered-generator-unveiled-international-exhibition-234718329.html

    • Bob Lang says:

      Colorado Bob:
      If what you say were true, these 4 girls would have invented a Perpetual Motion Machine, in violation of the “First Law of Thermodynamics”.
      Obviously, it takes more energy to split off the hydrogen in the electrolytic cell than can be produced with the hydrogen generated.

  4. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    One or more years of drought in the great American grain belt will cause food crises around the world. With numerous other agricultural areas being hit by weather extremes, and fewer getting good conditions, this is the proximate crisis that will bring the climate catastrophe crashing down on us all. Rising food prices, plus austerity equals revolt, war and chaos. The odds are shortening that this is our near, not our distant, or even medium, future.

  5. Amy Luers says:

    The series of extreme weather events in recent years is forcing us to think and communicate around preparedness and climate mitigation in new ways. As we consider this challenge, it is critical to convey to the public the irresponsibility of our leaders who are ignoring the risks that scientists’ have characterized so clearly for the world—the risks that we face today as a result of poor urban development patterns and the risks our children will face in the future if we continue emitting global warming pollution.

    I speak more on this in my recent post “Op-Ed: Expanding on the Moral Logic of Climate Communication” Link here: http://www.takepart.com/article/2012/11/14/expanding-moral-logic-climate-communication

  6. Dr.A.Jagadeesh says:

    Timely caution.
    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India
    E-mail:anumakonda.jagadeesh@gmail.com