Republican River at zero flow (via US Geological Survey)
Irony can be so ironic.
Last week, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) approved a revised route for the Keystone XL pipeline through his state. The math is simple: “Keystone XL Pipeline = Tar Sands Expansion = Accelerated Climate Change.” And that equals a hotter and drier Great Plains, especially in the summer and fall.
So if Obama were to actually defy my prediction and approve the pipeline, then Nebraska would be giving new meaning to the phrase “red state” — since its current brutal drought would be on track to become its normal climate in the coming decades:
On January 3, 2012, none of the state was in extreme or exceptional drought (and less than 1% was in moderate or severe drought). By January 2013, over 96% of the state was experiencing extreme or exceptional drought – and most of that (over 77%) was exceptional drought.
What happened? Just the hottest and driest year in Nebraska’s recorded history.
Here is a graph of more than a century’s worth of precipitation data from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center:
And here’s a graph of the temperature data from NCDC:
While I’m not one to believe in omens, I am one to believe in irony and metaphors.
As the picture at the top shows, last year, the Republican River – which runs from Nebraska into Kansas – ran dry. The discharge for the Republican River in September was 0.00 cubic feet per second. Same for October. Not until after the election did the rate start rising, but even so, the Republican River is still flowing “much below normal.”
In the no doubt purely coincidental words of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal last week, the GOP “must stop being the stupid party.”
h/t N. Sundt
- James Hansen slams Keystone XL Canada-U.S. Pipeline: “Exploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts.”