55% of USA is in moderate drought (or worse). That’s the highest percentage since 1956. Details below.
71% of America characterized as “abnormally dry” or worse, twice as large an area of dry weather as last year at this time.
Heat Shifts South And East. Advisories for excessive heat (and humidity) are still in effect from eastern Iowa eastward to Chicago, Indianapolis and Columbus – Excessive Heat Warnings posted for Detroit. Air quality is poor – high levels of ozone for much of New York State. Map: NOAA.
Biggest Drought Since 1956, Climate Agency Says. CNN.com has the story; here’s an excerpt: “The pool is closed in Warrenton, Missouri. Cattle ponds are drying up in Arkansas. Illinois is in danger of losing its corn crop. Even the mighty Mississippi River is feeling low amid what the National Climatic Data Center reported Monday is the largest drought since the 1950s. The center said about 55% of the country was in at least moderate short-term drought in June for the first time since December 1956, when 58% of the country was in a moderate to extreme drought.”
Photo credit above: “Stalled corn is displayed on a farm in Geff, Ill on Monday, July 16, 2012. 53-year-old farmer David White says he has never experienced such extreme drought. Little rain and long lasting heat has dried up his acres forcing him to declare this year a “total loss.” (AP Photo/Robert Ray)
40% of America’s corn crop rated “good” or “excellent”. Source: USDA. Photo: madison.com.
Colorado fire conditions currently similar to what you would normally find in September. Source: CNN. Photo credit above: “Remains of Flying W Ranch in Colorado Springs.” Matthew Staver/The New York Times.
“There’s no rain and all that heat demands evaporation … it’s almost as if the atmosphere has forgotten how to rain.” – from a CBC article; details below.
“The global warming debate will be much easier to embrace without the threat of government expansion.” – excerpt from a post at deathrattlesports.com below.
Perils And Promise Of Geoengineering. Is there a planet-wide, technological “fix” for a warming atmosphere? The story below.
Extended Outlook: Not As Blazing. The latest European (ECMWF) model run has backed off on the late-week heat spike. After a few (welcome) days in the 80s Wednesday and Thursday, we should warm close to 90 by next weekend, maybe some mid 90s returning by Wednesday of next week.
“Warmer soils means more evaporation, i.e. more loss of water from the soil. So even if regions that get *more* precipitation can see worsened drought. And indeed, that’s what the models project, and that’s what we’re seeing.”
Windchill Please. I received this e-mail, via Terry Sauer at The Star Tribune, and felt compelled to share it with you:
Global Warming Harms Lakes. Living in The Land of 10,000 Lakes (actually 16,000 over 2 acres) this article from Science Daily caught my eye. Here’s an excerpt: “Global warming also affects lakes. Based on the example of Lake Zurich, researchers from the University of Zurich demonstrate that there is insufficient water turnover in the lake during the winter and harmful Burgundy blood algae are increasingly thriving. The warmer temperatures are thus compromising the successful lake clean-ups of recent decades.Many large lakes in Central Europe became heavily overfertilized in the twentieth century through sewage. As a result, algal blooms developed and cyanobacteria (photosynthetic bacteria) especially began to appear en masse. Some of these organisms form toxins that can compromise the use of the lake water. Dying algal blooms consume a lot of oxygen, thereby reducing the oxygen content in the lake with negative consequences for the fish stocks.”
Photo credit above: “In the fall, the body of water already turns over at a depth of between zero and 20 meters and the Planktothrix comes to the surface from depths of 15 meters. It can form visible masses (blooms) at the surface.” (Credit: Limnologische Station, UZH)
Infographic: Extreme Weather And Climate Change. It’s all about statistics and probabilities. Which types of weather are most likely to impacted by rising temperatures, worldwide? Here’s an effective infographic and explanation from UCS,The Union of Concerned Scientists:
- “What’s the connection between global warming and extreme weather? When it comes to heat waves and coastal flooding, the scientific evidence is clear: Human-caused climate change is driving these extreme weather events.
- Other forms of severe weather are also closely linked to climate change, including a rise in extreme precipitation events in some regions and increasingly severe droughts in others.
- The effect of climate change on tornadoes and hurricanes is an active area of research. Scientific confidence with observed data is currently low, though the underlying mechanisms of climate change are expected to play a role.”
It’s Simple: Global Warming Is Causing The Extreme Weather. ABC Newsenvironmental reporter Bill Blakemore connects the dots in this story; here’s an excerpt: “We want a clear answer. Is manmade global warming responsible for the surge in severe heat events we’re seeing in recent years around the globe? The world’s climate scientists have a clear answer: Yes. It is. “It’s about as solid as science ever gets,” climatologist James Hansen tells ABC News. But climate scientists often add a different and sometimes confusing answer to a slightly different question: Is manmade global warming to blame for any one of those extreme weather events? No, they say — or rather, that’s a somewhat meaningless question if you mean that too literally, since nothing ever happens for any one reason — not anywhere, not ever, though there are of course “main causes” or “triggering events,” factors that may increase the probability of any one event happening; but any one event still happens only because various conditions are right at the same time, so you can’t say, exactly, that any one event is “caused by” manmade global warming — or any other single cause — not exactly…”
Focusing Science On The Damage. Here’s a portion of an Op-Ed at The New York Times: “…From deep water drilling for oil to fracking for gas and arctic mining, there are no more limits. This is astonishing. But it should also be alarming. So clever have humans become that we can squeeze what we want from our planet’s natural systems, seemingly without any limits. But this is not matched by our ability to control the impacts of our advances or to live within our means. Worse still, we are tempted by our successes to exaggerate our power to solve the problems of the world — that if we really need to, we will be able to. We believe that our ingenuity, though it may cause some problems from time to time, will also help us get out of them. Yet the evidence increasingly points in the opposite direction. Since the United Nations set up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988, investment in technology that could counter global warming has been on a tiny scale compared to that spent on technology that contributes to expanding energy usage, and thus emissions…”
Must-See: Best News Report This Year On Link Between Climate Change And Extreme Weather. Here’s an except of a must-read article from Think Progress: “Last week I wrote that “Every Network Gets Extreme Weather Story Right.” The ABC News weather editor even ended his story, “Now’s the time we start limiting manmade greenhouse gases.” But the major networks only devote 3 minutes each to what is in fact the “Climate Story of the Year: Warming-Driven Drought and Extreme Weather Emerge as Key Threat to Global Food Security.” Indeed, global warming is the story of the century — and if we don’t start reducing greenhouse gas emissions ASAP, it will be the story of the millennium — see NOAA stunner: Climate change “largely irreversible for 1000 years,” with permanent Dust Bowls in Southwest and around the globe (if we don’t act quickly). See also Nature Geoscience: Ocean dead zones “devoid of fish and seafood” are poised to expand and “remain for thousands of years.“
Merkel Warns On Global Warming If No Climate Accord. Reuters has the story; here’s an excerpt: “Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Monday that global warming will accelerate at a dramatic rate unless leaders reach a deal on limiting greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible. After marathon talks in Durban last December, countries agreed to forge a new deal by 2015 that would for the first time force all the biggest polluters to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Critics said at the time, however, the plan was too timid to slow global warming.” Photo: Reuters.
Nation’s Top Scientists Urge State Department To Consider Climate Change In New Review For Keystone XL Pipeline. Here’s an excerpt of a press release from350.org: “WASHINGTON, DC — Ten of the nation’s top climate scientists released a letter to Secretary Clinton today, urging the State Department to conduct a serious review of the climate change impacts of the Keystone XL pipeline. “At the moment, your department is planning to consider the effects of the pipeline on ‘recreation,’ ‘visual resources,’ and ‘noise,’ among other factors,” wrote the scientists. “Those are important—but omitting climate change from the considerations is neither wise nor credible.” The State Department is currently accepting comments on the scoping evaluation that will determine what environmental considerations will be included in the supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) required for the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline.”
“It’s Time To Reduce Our Fossil Fuel Use Now”. Here’s a video of the recent story Providence WPRI-TV meteorologist TJ Del Santo ran on the weather-climate connection and reducing our use of fossil fuels: “WPRI meteorologist TJ Del Santo discusses recent extreme weather in the context of global warming and concludes, “”It’s important to try to reduce our fossil fuel use now, so that the long term won’t be as extreme.”
Geoengineering Could Backfire, Make Climate Change Worse. Why do I feel the only people that will benefit from tinkering with the atmosphere on a planetary scale are the lawyers? The story from Wired Science (UK); here’s an excerpt: “Deploying giant space mirrors and spraying particles from stadium-sized balloons may sound like an engineer’s wild fantasy, but climate models suggest that the potential of geoengineering to offset rising atmospheric carbon dioxide may be significantly overstated. Through a variety of computer simulations used for reporting to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the team investigated a scenario where an increase in the world’s atmospheric carbon dioxide levels was balanced by a “dimming” of the sun. Across all four models tested, the team showed that geoengineering could lead to adverse effects on the Earth’s climate, including a reduction in global rainfall. They therefore concluded that geoengineering could not be a substitute for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.”
More Companies Are Reporting Climate Change Related Water Risks. Here’s an excerpt from a story at triplepundit.com: “Corporate disclosures of water-related climate change risks in financial filings have increased since 2009, a Ceres report found. The report specifically found that disclosures of water risks increased between 2009 and 2011. The biggest change occurred in the percentage of companies disclosing water-related physical risks, which increased from 76 percent to 87 percent. In 2009, only eight of the 82 companies surveyed (10 percent) disclosed that climate change posed water related risks. In 2011, there were 22 companies (27 percent). The report compared the water risk disclosure of the 82 companies analyzed as part of a 2010 Ceres report, and looks at disclosure since the SEC issued guidance in 2010 on how companies should provide climate change risk information to investors. The report covers water use in eight water intensive sectors: beverage, chemicals, electric power, food, homebuilding, mining, oil and gas and semiconductors.”
Bill Berry: Climate Change Denying Pols Put Lives At Risk. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed from Bill Berry at madison.com: “As it becomes obvious that scientists are right and climate change is a clear and present danger, people elected to serve our best interests continue to deny it. Remarkably, Republicans in Congress are united on this. Wisconsin’s junior senator, Ron Johnson, is among the worst. With mountains of evidence to the contrary, Johnson’s denial of climate change is nothing short of immoral. Human lives are at stake. In response to the warmest spring on record and headed for the hottest year in history, deniers like Johnson remain steadfast in claiming these are natural cycles. OK, but during other cycles the Arctic ice cap wasn’t receding at a record pace and sea levels weren’t rising even more rapidly than scientists predicted. Glaciers are melting, forests are burning, crops are drying up in withering heat and drought, and weird “derecho” thunderstorms are killing people. But the deniers persist.”
“This brings to mind the fact that about 15 percent of Americans believe that the Apollo moon missions never occurred and were staged on movie sets in the desert. Would The Post, in reporting on the space program, seek to be fair and balanced by giving this 15 percent a voice equal to that of astronauts, astronomers and academic experts? Why, then, give prominent voice to global-warming deniers, who are similarly at odds with facts?”
This morning, while reading the (near final editing) draft of another excellent peer-reviewed study from Stephen Lewandowsky, I was struck by how this line of questioning is so close to the truth.”
Climate Change Madness: What’s Your Solution? The author of this story atdeathrattlesports.com makes a good point: many conservatives are fearful that global warming solutions will require a massive expansion of government. How much can be done via the markets vs. government solution? Can we simultaneously put a price on carbon and still grow economies and GDP? Here’s an excerpt from the story: “…This is the problem. Whenever someone complains about global warming and the ignorance of others for not listening to them, all they are doing is crying to bid daddy government to fix the problem. They also identify humans as the problem. Now think about this: conservative values (not talking politics) hold human life and personal freedom in the highest regard. In two paragraphs the author takes swipes at both of these values and this is why some people can’t agree on anything. You may think this is crazy but that won’t help you convince anyone of anything. If you talk to a conservative about global warming, or talk to anyone about global warming, offer solutions that don’t involve the government ruling over us with a gun in one hand and an atomic fireball in the other.The global warming debate will be much easier to embrace without the threat of government expansion.”
- Paul Douglas
- Welcome to the WeatherNation blog. Every day I sift through hundreds of stories, maps, graphics and meteorological web sites, trying to capture some of the most interesting weather nuggets, the stories behind the forecast. I’ll link to stories and share some of the web sites I use. I’m still passionate about the weather, have been ever since Tropical Storm Agnes flooded my home in Lancaster, PA in 1972. I’ve started 5 weather-related companies. “EarthWatch” created the world’s first 3-D weather graphics for TV stations – Steven Spielberg used our software in “Jurassic Park” and “Twister”. My last company, “Digital Cyclone”, personalized weather for cell phones. “My-Cast” was launched in 2001 and is still going strong on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. I sold DCI to Garmin in 2007 so I could focus on my latest venture: WeatherNation. I also write a daily weather column for The Star Tribune startribune.
com/weatherAnd if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather
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