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Posts tagged "drought"

Drought stricken Lake Travis, Texas. Note the water line in the background. Via

Scary video of rapidly spreading wildfire near LA from someone’s backyard. You can here father and daughter talking about animals running from the flames.

Tough year ahead guys.


A dog walks on cracked ground at the Las Canoas dam, some 59 km north of the capital Managua on April 26, 2013.. A large area of the dam has been dry since last February, as most of its water have been used by rice farmers for their crops, affecting around hundreds of peasants living in the area, according to local media.

[Credit : Oswaldo Rivas/Reuters]



Southern California wildfire spreads to Naval Base Ventura County

Photo: NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin

Seriously, it’s going to be a real rough year!

Wildfires have begun several months early this year due to drought (and mismanagement) in Idaho, California, Colorado, and Minnesota. There may be others, but that is all I could find in a short time frame.

An agency that watches for wildfire conditions (see below) predicts 2013 will be a killer season. On a personal level, news about wildfires and floods hit me hardest. It’s when good people come together to help their neighbors in such visual, visceral, and gut striking way.

First responders, like firemen, who are usually unpaid volunteers, put their lives on the line for us. They are great people. These types of disasters are at once heartening, because they impact regular people so hard, and frustrating, because our government is partially responsible for mismanaging land and not providing adequate equipment. I fear that 2013 will be the year of tears - let’s hope that I’m wrong.  

Current wildfire and wind condition map. Includes crowdsourced pictures and videos from flickr and youtube.

Good link to book mark.

Wildfire yesterday in Saint Cloud, MN near I-94. Usually these start mid to late summer, but the drought has evaporated most of the moisture held in the soils.

It’s going to be a gnarly year.

Your taxes.


U.S. Drought Monitor - April 2013

Brutal wildfire year lies ahead for the west and south west.

Thursday’s report by dozens of scientists from five different federal agencies looked into why forecasters didn’t see the drought coming. The researchers concluded that it was so unusual and unpredictable that it couldn’t have been forecast.

"This is one of those events that comes along once every couple hundreds of years," said lead author Martin Hoerling, a research meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "Climate change was not a significant part, if any, of the event."

Via AP

Winter snow storms not enough to recharge soil and aquifers to end historic drought. 2013 drought forecast looking grim.

The historic drought that laid waste to America’s grain and corn belt is unlikely to ease before the middle of this year, a government forecast warned on Thursday.

The annual spring outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted hotter, drier conditions across much of the US, including parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, where farmers have been fighting to hang on to crops of winter wheat.

The three-month forecast noted an additional hazard, however, for the midwest: with heavy, late snows setting up conditions for flooding along the Red and Souris rivers in North Dakota.

"It’s a mixed bag of flooding, drought and warm weather," Laura Furgione, the deputy director of NOAA’s weather service told a conference call with reporters.

Last year produced the hottest year since record keeping began more than a century ago, with several weeks in a row of 100+degree days. It also brought drought to close to 65% of the country by summer’s end.

The cost of the drought is estimated at above $50bn, greater than the economic damage caused by hurricane Sandy. The drought area has now fallen back somewhat to 51% of the country.

But even the heavy snowfalls some parts of the country have seen were not enough to recharge the soil, the NOAA scientists said.

Via The Guardian

Strong reporting on how U.S. farmers cannot adapt to more big droughts like the one of 2012. Insurance companies covered billions in losses last year, but if 2013 is as bad as 2012, portfolios may shift to safer options.

US farmers are bracing for long-term challenges from climate change including blasting heat and more capricious rainfall.

About 80 percent of the farmland in the world’s biggest soybean and corn (maize) producer was scorched by extreme heat and drought last summer, savaging crops and sending global prices for the key food commodities soaring, hurting poor countries that depend on imports.

Across the heartland of the corn crop in the Midwest state of Iowa, farmers have turned a jaundiced eye on last season’s disaster to focus on this year’s weather conditions.

By early March, 53 percent of the land was still abnormally dry or suffering drought.

But as more and more accept that the climate is changing, farmers are putting their faith in technology to help them beat global warming…

Insurers compensated the losses with a record $14.7 billion in payouts — enough to allow farmers to get ready for a new season.

Via Global Post

He subtly makes the case to adapt rivers and ports to climate change.

President Obama said Tuesday that federal investments in waterway maintenance will be vital as drought fueled by climate change creates problems for barges bringing goods out of the Midwest.

Obama, during a meeting of the President’s Export Council, noted recent problems moving goods when last year’s major drought lowered water levels in the Mississippi River.

“Recently we had the challenge of … getting goods from the Midwest down the Mississippi when the water started going down,” Obama said.

He said the upcoming White House budget proposal would seek to address maintenance needs.

“And if in fact temperatures are warming — I know this is not our climate change meeting — but I think we can anticipate that we may end up having some challenges in terms of managing our waterways well, whether or not we can continue to use barges to move a lot of product out of the American heartland to ports around the world, that is going to depend on our infrastructure,” Obama said.

“So we are going to, in our budget, continue to push Congress to see if we can essentially deal with deferred maintenance,” he added in emphasizing the importance of waterway and port infrastructure.

The president touched on climate change very briefly during wide-ranging remarks about U.S. export and trade policy.

Via The Hill H/T Marcacci Communications Environment News Roundup

The Dark Snow Project is about 50% funded. Scientists believe that increased droughts are causing more wildfires. These fires emit soot and ash into the air, called ‘black carbon.’ This black carbon circulates through the atmosphere and is deposited (in part) on glaciers and sea ice.

Scientists are finding that the black carbon absorbs heat from the sun, in turn causing the ice to melt faster than expected. The effect of melting ice is faster sea level rise, which will impact (in the least) coastal cities around the world.

The unique part of this project is that it is mostly funded by citizens like you. Really good project and highly recommend visiting their website,


Dark Snow Project: Climate Change and Citizen Science in Greenland

For the dark snow project to succeed, your help is needed.

Please visit and consider a tax deductible donation to this unique citizen science initiative, and helping expand the boundaries of knowledge in this critical area of climate science

by Peter Sinclair.

(via scientiflix)