Connecting The Dots On Climate And Extreme Weather: Must-Watch PBS Story On Devastating Texas Drought

After releasing a fantastic piece last December on the link between climate change and “mind-boggling” extreme weather, PBS is taking its coverage of the issue one step further.

The PBS NewsHour has just rolled out a new series, “Coping With Climate Change,” using multi-media reporting to explore the impact that our warming planet is having on American communities. With U.S. media coverage of climate change tumbling 20% in 2011, PBS deserves a lot of credit for this new reporting effort — producing an extended, ongoing series to flesh out the economic and environmental challenges exacerbated by global warming.

The latest story focuses on the unprecedented drought in Texas, which climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon said recently was “enhanced by global warming, much of which has been caused by man.” Last week, agronomists in Texas reported that the warming-fueled drought cost the agricultural sector $7.6 billion.

PBS takes a look behind those numbers and tells the story of how water shortages in two Texas communities are putting residents in crisis mode. Katharine Hayhoe, a climatologist at Texas Tech University, explains why human-caused global warming could make the crisis even worse:

“What climate change is doing is it’s increasing our temperatures, and higher temperatures mean faster evaporation,” she says, “So you need more water to provide the same amount of irrigation for crops if temperatures are higher. And that’s what we see happening here in Texas and in many places around the world.”

The impact of the drought in Texas is gut-wrenching. And with climatologists making the link between the catastrophe and a warming planet, the story is even more powerful. Watch it:

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2 Responses to Connecting The Dots On Climate And Extreme Weather: Must-Watch PBS Story On Devastating Texas Drought

  1. G Ennis says:

    Very interesting video. The part that was most revealing was when a resident was asked how they would fight forest fires this year if they happen and the reservoir remains dry. The answer is of course is that they will have to let their town burn.

    It would have been interesting to ask many of the people impacted by the drought in Texas if they accepted the evidence for AGW.I suspect that many despite all that has happened would cling to their denial since acceptance would mean embracing a truth about their future and that for their families difficult to accept.

  2. Spike says:

    Katharine Hayhoe and Kerry Emmanuel were on BBC Horizon last night about extreme weather events. It was a reasonably good primer of why we are getting such extreme weather.