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The Wrath of 2007: America's Great Drought
Belfast Telegraph ^ | Andrew Gumbel

Posted on 06/14/2007 7:01:44 PM PDT by Iam1ru1-2

America is facing its worst summer drought since the Dust Bowl years of the Great Depression. Or perhaps worse still.

From the mountains and desert of the West, now into an eighth consecutive dry year, to the wheat farms of Alabama, where crops are failing because of rainfall levels 12 inches lower than usual, to the vast soupy expanse of Lake Okeechobee in southern Florida, which has become so dry it actually caught fire a couple of weeks ago, a continent is crying out for water.

In the south-east, usually a lush, humid region, it is the driest few months since records began in 1895. California and Nevada, where burgeoning population centres co-exist with an often harsh, barren landscape, have seen less rain over the past year than at any time since 1924. The Sierra Nevada range, which straddles the two states, received only 27 per cent of its usual snowfall in winter, with immediate knock-on effects on water supplies for the populations of Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

The human impact, for the moment, has been limited, certainly nothing compared to the great westward migration of Okies in the 1930 - the desperate march described by John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath.

Big farmers are now well protected by government subsidies and emergency funds, and small farmers, some of whom are indeed struggling, have been slowly moving off the land for decades anyway. The most common inconvenience, for the moment, are restrictions on hosepipes and garden sprinklers in eastern cities.

But the long-term implications are escaping nobody. Climatologists see a growing volatility in the south-east's weather - today's drought coming close on the heels of devastating hurricanes two to three years ago. In the West, meanwhile, a growing body of scientific evidence suggests a movement towards a state of perpetual drought by the middle of this century. "The 1930s drought lasted less than a decade. This is something that could remain for 100 years," said Richard Seager a climatologist at Columbia University and lead researcher of a report published recently by the government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

While some of this year's dry weather is cyclical - California actually had an unusually wet year last year, so many of the state's farmers still have plenty of water for their crops - some of it portends more permanent changes. In Arizona, the tall mountains in the southern Sonoran desert known as "sky islands" because they have been welcome refuges from the desert heat for millennia, have already shown unmistakable signs of change.

Predatory insects have started ravaging trees already weakened by record temperatures and fires over the past few years. Animal species such as frogs and red squirrels have been forced to move ever higher up the mountains in search of cooler temperatures, and are in danger of dying out altogether. Mount Lemmon, which rises above the city of Tucson, boasts the southernmost ski resort in the US, but has barely attracted any snow these past few years.

"A lot of people think climate change and the ecological repercussions are 50 years away," Thomas Swetnam, an environmental scientist at the University of Arizona in Tucson, told The New York Times a few months ago. "But it's happening now in the West. The data is telling us that we are in the middle of one of the first big indicators of climate change impacts in the continental United States." Across the West, farmers and city water consumers are locked in a perennial battle over water rights - one that the cities are slowly winning. Down the line, though, there are serious questions about how to keep showers and lawn sprinklers going in the retirement communities of Nevada and Arizona. Lake Powell, the reservoir on the upper Colorado River that helps provide water across a vast expanse of the West, has been less than half full for years, with little prospect of filling up in the foreseeable future.

According to the NOAA's recent report, the West can expect 10-20 per cent less rainfall by mid-century, which will increase air pollution in the cities, kill off trees and water-retaining giant cactus plants and shrink the available water supply by as much as 25 per cent.

In the south-east, the crisis is immediate - and may be alleviated at any moment by the arrival of the tropical storm season. In Georgia, where the driest spring on record followed closely on the heels of a devastating frost, farmers are afraid they might lose anywhere from half to two-thirds of crops such as melons and the state's celebrated peaches. Many cities are restricting lawn sprinklers to one hour per day - and some places one hour only every other day.

The most striking effect of the dry weather has been to expose large parts of the bed of Lake Okeechobee, the vast circular expanse of water east of Palm Beach, Florida, which acts as a back-up water supply for five million Floridians. Archaeologists have had a field day - dredging the soil for human bone fragments, tools, bits of pottery and ceremonial jewellery thought to have belonged to the natives who lived near the lake before the Spanish arrived in the 16th century.

Environmentalists are not entirely upset, because the lake is notoriously polluted with pesticides and other farm products that then poison nearby rivers. River fish stocks in the area are now booming.

Nothing, though, was so strange as the fires that broke out over about 12,000 acres on the northern edge of the lake at the end of May. They were eventually doused by Tropical Storm Barry last weekend. State water managers, however, say it will may take a whole summer of rainstorms, or longer, to restore the lake.

The great Dust Bowl disaster

The Dust Bowl was the result of catastrophic dust storms causing major ecological and agricultural damage to American prairies in the 1930s. The fertile soil of the Great Plains had been exposed by removal of grass during ploughing over decades of ill-conceived farming techniques. The First World War and immense profits had driven farmers to push the land well beyond its natural limits.

When drought hit, the soil dried, became dust, and blew eastwards, mostly in large black clouds. This caused an exodus from Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and the surrounding Great Plains, with more than half a million Americans left homeless in the Great Depression.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: climatechange; drought; globalwarming; globalwarminghoax; matt24; sowreap; weather; weredoomed

1 posted on 06/14/2007 7:01:46 PM PDT by Iam1ru1-2
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To: Iam1ru1-2
From the mountains and desert of the West, now into an eighth consecutive dry year...

Uhhhh....no.

2 posted on 06/14/2007 7:03:43 PM PDT by randog (What the...?!)
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To: Iam1ru1-2

This article is a bit lacking when it comes to facts.


3 posted on 06/14/2007 7:03:56 PM PDT by Shanty Shaker
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To: Iam1ru1-2

No drought(or warming)here in Massachusetts.


4 posted on 06/14/2007 7:04:54 PM PDT by Mears
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To: All

I don’t believe this has anything to do with global warming as our former Vice (and I do mean VICE) prezidant Gore spews everytime he opens his mouth. Perhaps we have reached the end of God’s grace toward America?


5 posted on 06/14/2007 7:06:58 PM PDT by Iam1ru1-2
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To: Iam1ru1-2

Downright soggy here in Kansas.


6 posted on 06/14/2007 7:07:23 PM PDT by DaveMSmith ("Heaven is the only basis for our continued existence".)
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To: Iam1ru1-2

Here, in Central Texas, we had one of the wettest, coolest springs on record...


7 posted on 06/14/2007 7:08:02 PM PDT by dandelion
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To: Iam1ru1-2
From the mountains and desert of the West, now into an eighth consecutive dry year...

It's been raining cats and dogs and flooding in Oklahoma. The Irish should stick to potatoes and crystal and leave meteorology to the experts.

8 posted on 06/14/2007 7:09:11 PM PDT by Maynerd (Bush is the Herbert Hoover of border security)
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To: Mears

I am afraid MA has bigger problems than weather anomallies.........your senators......just like mine in WA.


9 posted on 06/14/2007 7:09:14 PM PDT by Iam1ru1-2
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To: Iam1ru1-2
Summary: We're all going to die!!!
10 posted on 06/14/2007 7:10:43 PM PDT by sionnsar (trad-anglican.faithweb.com |Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
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To: Maynerd

This Irish Newspaper only reported what some scientist have perported to think is the reason for our weather changes. I doubt whether the newspaper’s reporters wrote this since it’s about America, not Great Britain.


11 posted on 06/14/2007 7:11:54 PM PDT by Iam1ru1-2
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To: Iam1ru1-2

Our legislature is worse. Today they voted NOT to allow the people to vote on gay marriage.

If I was younger I’d get the heck out of here.


12 posted on 06/14/2007 7:13:14 PM PDT by Mears
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To: sionnsar
"we're all going to die."

Hmmmmmm. Nothing new here. That's been happenin' since man first ate of that "Forbidden Fruit".

13 posted on 06/14/2007 7:13:53 PM PDT by Iam1ru1-2
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To: Iam1ru1-2

We're Doomed!

14 posted on 06/14/2007 7:14:05 PM PDT by MrEdd (L. Ron Gore creator of "Fry-n-tology" the global warming religion.)
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To: Mears
Well, we have a drought here in mid Mississippi. I am on the verge of selling my small cattle herd I have built up over the past 20 years. No rain no grass. Fortunately? I am 63, so I think I can make it with my simple lifestyle
15 posted on 06/14/2007 7:15:01 PM PDT by cmet
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To: MrEdd

16 posted on 06/14/2007 7:16:43 PM PDT by Iam1ru1-2
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To: cmet

Sorry you are having problems in Mississippi——we are in a cold, grey, damp period here in MA.

Good luck with your plans-—I’m 10 years older than you and it’s amazing how you can get by without a regular income.


17 posted on 06/14/2007 7:20:10 PM PDT by Mears
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To: Iam1ru1-2

Does this have a point?

Assuming the predictions of awful things to come are somewhat accurate, all we can do is adapt. We certainly can’t prevent them. IOW, life goes on and we keep plugging away.

Based on when I was born, I find it hard to get too worked up about 50 years from now.


18 posted on 06/14/2007 7:22:11 PM PDT by ChildOfThe60s (If you can remember the 60s........you weren't really there)
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To: MrEdd

WE'RE DOOMED!!!

19 posted on 06/14/2007 7:22:23 PM PDT by Iam1ru1-2
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To: Iam1ru1-2

Since when does “America” equal Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississipi, and California? In Colorado it’s been raining (or snowing) almost every afternoon. I have a creek in the back of the farm that I’ve never had before!


20 posted on 06/14/2007 7:23:50 PM PDT by loreldan (Without coffee I am nothing. Romney supporter for now...)
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To: randog
According to the NOAA's recent report, the West can expect 10-20 per cent less rainfall by mid-century, which will increase air pollution in the cities, kill off trees and water-retaining giant cactus plants and shrink the available water supply by as much as 25 per cent.

West where? The writer refers to Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. Mebbe Arkansas?

Sounds like a 'sunbelt' problem to me, if there is a problem.

Maybe we should drill for our fuel instead of growing it.

Reminds me of poll results for the "midwest" in an election year, gerrymandered to include everywhere from western PA to Eastern Washington to get the "right" results.

In the meantime, we have had rain nearly every other day in North Dakota...(God! This country looks good in green!)

21 posted on 06/14/2007 7:25:15 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly.)
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To: Iam1ru1-2
Alabama is getting hit hard it seems. Nothing really out of the ordinary though.


22 posted on 06/14/2007 7:26:31 PM PDT by listenhillary (Conservatives -- We're NOT DEAD YET !!!)
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To: ChildOfThe60s

I think America should have a change of heart, not adapt. God is not mocked. Everything He says will come true...sooner or later.

Revelation 6

The Seals

1I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
3When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.

5When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. 6Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “A quart[a] of wheat for a day’s wages,[b] and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages,[c] and do not damage the oil and the wine!”

7When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” 8I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.


23 posted on 06/14/2007 7:27:51 PM PDT by Iam1ru1-2
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To: listenhillary

Thanks for the weather/climate map listenhillary. A picture is worth a thousand words.


24 posted on 06/14/2007 7:30:18 PM PDT by Iam1ru1-2
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To: Mears

Thanks for your concern. Lots of people worse off than me though.

And I am fortunate that i can get by as i do. Lots of do everything yourself. and most important good health so far.


25 posted on 06/14/2007 7:34:24 PM PDT by cmet
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To: Iam1ru1-2

In another life I was a broadcast meteorologist. Take a look at this graphic from your National Weather Service and tell me whether the nation is is the grips of a drought. www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/threats/ There is drought in some measure in one part or other of this country every year. It is a normal occurence of some very very long term cycles of the atmospheric/solar couple.


26 posted on 06/14/2007 7:34:45 PM PDT by CARTOUCHE
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To: Iam1ru1-2
"America is facing its worst summer drought since the Dust Bowl years of the Great Depression"

My yard is a lake tonight. Here in Fargo, ND, its been raining for days, the river has been in flood all spring, and my sump pump runs every 5 minutes 24 X 7.

Drought my arse.

27 posted on 06/14/2007 8:04:19 PM PDT by Uncle Miltie (the Prophet said, If (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him. - HADITH Sahih Bukhari [4:52:260])
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To: listenhillary
Is that Cuba included in the US drought monitor?

Curious, no other countries in the northern hemisphere were included, why Cuba?

28 posted on 06/14/2007 8:11:22 PM PDT by AFreeBird (Will NOT vote for Rudy. <--- notice the period)
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To: DaveMSmith
Colorado has had alot of good soaking rains this year, too.

And, we really got the snow up here in the mountains.

29 posted on 06/14/2007 8:14:12 PM PDT by moondoggie
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To: AFreeBird

Get out your atlas man — It would be the 51st state, Puerto Rico!


30 posted on 06/14/2007 8:15:00 PM PDT by The FIGHTIN Illini (No Amnesty For Lawbreakers!)
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To: AFreeBird

Get out your atlas man — It would be the 51st state, Puerto Rico!


31 posted on 06/14/2007 8:15:39 PM PDT by The FIGHTIN Illini (No Amnesty For Lawbreakers!)
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To: DaveMSmith
While listening to Rush today, the local [Indy] news segment came on and one of the reports was that the local water co requested people to stop watering lawns immediately and until next Tuesday. I was watering the flower beds at the time.

We've had dark clouds and forecasts for spotty thunder showers, but so far nothing. I only water the lawn twice a week, and I'll probably still let the sprinkler system kick on this Saturday.

32 posted on 06/14/2007 8:19:19 PM PDT by AFreeBird (Will NOT vote for Rudy. <--- notice the period)
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To: The FIGHTIN Illini

Well they put it down there where Cuba is.


33 posted on 06/14/2007 8:27:05 PM PDT by AFreeBird (Will NOT vote for Rudy. <--- notice the period)
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To: Iam1ru1-2

I live in middle Tennessee where I have only had 30 minutes of rain in two months.(red zone on the map above)I have a garden and catch rain water in a tank. My rain tank has been dry for weeks now so I started pumping water from a pond about 400 feet away. Now it is dry. Today I had to water with tap water for about three hours. We also had a very late freeze that caused the trees to have to regenerate their leaves. I worry that many of them may die with this much stress.


34 posted on 06/14/2007 8:28:12 PM PDT by Boiling point (The Indians had a bad immigration policy and look what happened to them!)
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To: dandelion

Here, in Central Texas, we had one of the wettest, coolest springs on record...

Same here in the Colorado Rockies.


35 posted on 06/14/2007 8:33:12 PM PDT by Laserman
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To: Iam1ru1-2
Mount Lemmon, which rises above the city of Tucson, boasts the southernmost ski resort in the US, but has barely attracted any snow these past few years

I lived in Tucson from 1968 to 1978. There never was enough snow to sneeze at on Mt. Lemmon for those ten years, 30-40 years ago. The "ski resort" is/was of very recent vintage.

Looks like more anti-American/anticapitalist euro-fiction. We've had a rash of it lately.

36 posted on 06/14/2007 8:43:30 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: hinckley buzzard

I read about droughts in the Bible- I guess that was due to SUV’s and coal fired power plants, too.


37 posted on 06/15/2007 2:52:11 AM PDT by CalvaryJohn (What is keeping that damned asteroid?)
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To: Boiling point
I guess we should hope for some gulf coast hurricaines to punch north through Alabama and Tenn for some good soaking rains. NWS 90 day outlook is for persistant drought for the central south.

Doughts are hard to deal with. Hope your situation gets better.


38 posted on 06/15/2007 3:52:35 AM PDT by listenhillary (Conservatives -- We're NOT DEAD YET !!!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Rurudyne; steelyourfaith; Tolerance Sucks Rocks; xcamel; AdmSmith; ...
Note: this topic is from 6/14/2007.
Meme -- if you build it, they will come. Thanks Iam1ru1-2.
America is facing its worst summer drought since the Dust Bowl years of the Great Depression. Or perhaps worse still. From the mountains and desert of the West, now into an eighth consecutive dry year, to the wheat farms of Alabama, where crops are failing because of rainfall levels 12 inches lower than usual, to the vast soupy expanse of Lake Okeechobee in southern Florida, which has become so dry it actually caught fire a couple of weeks ago, a continent is crying out for water. In the south-east, usually a lush, humid region, it is the driest few months since records began in 1895. California and Nevada... have seen less rain over the past year than at any time since 1924. The Sierra Nevada range... received only 27 per cent of its usual snowfall in winter... Climatologists see a growing volatility in the south-east's weather -- today's drought coming close on the heels of devastating hurricanes two to three years ago. In the West, meanwhile, a growing body of scientific evidence suggests a movement towards a state of perpetual drought by the middle of this century.
Andrew Gumbel (author):
Google



39 posted on 08/19/2012 12:23:23 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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