Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Morning Read

Dust Bowl 2: Drought detective predicts
drier future for American Southwest

Water managers in the Southwest seem to be paying attention, and even taking action. "They understand that it's going to get drier," says Seager. "So it is probably not a good idea for them to sit around and wait until our models get better."

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Texas Drought Now Far Worse Than When Gov. Rick Perry Issued Proclamation Calling On All Texans To Pray For Rain | By Joe Romm | July 15 2011 . . . since Bachmann and Pawlenty are working to turn Minnesota into Texas, it is worth remembering that the ‘adaptation’ strategy of Gov. Rick Perry of Texas has been to designate 3 “days of prayer for rain” while cutting the budget of the agency battling record wildfires.

It would seem no one is actually listening to Perry’s prayers because the only alternative would be to believe that whoever is listening is doing the exact opposite of what Perry has prayed for. As the latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows, the Texas drought is considerably worse than when Perry issued an official proclamation drawing on his constitutional authority designating three days as Days of Prayer for Rain back in April . . .


By Seth Shulman | Grist
Published August 2010

Read the complete story

If you're one of the tens of millions of people who live in the southwestern United States, get ready for drier weather. That's the message from Richard Seager, a climate scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The American Southwest, says Seager, is soon likely to experience a "permanent drought" condition on par with the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

The Hadley Cell is growing – that Creator of Deserts, that driver of the Horse Latitudes ... but it's NOT the only Climate-driver changing its non-beneficial behavior of late

That rather frightening prediction is the most likely scenario for the region, given the global warming now underway. "It is a matter of simple thermodynamics," says Seager. "The region will face a considerable increase in aridity over the coming decade."

The Southwest is as dry as it is because the local atmospheric flow tends to export far more moisture than storms can carry into the region. This is the case in other parts of the so-called subtropics, those areas directly north and south of the equatorial tropics. But as earth's atmosphere becomes laden with heat-trapping greenhouse gases, it will be able to retain even more moisture. That means more evaporation from lakes and rivers, more moisture loss from plants, and drier soil.

A critical player in this drying cycle is the planetary-scale circulation system known as the "Hadley cell." This vast atmospheric system links rising air near the Equator with descending air in the subtropics, giving rise to the subtropical jet streams.

In the northern hemisphere the jet stream flows west to east across North America. Rising moist air condenses and forms thunderstorms in the tropics, but the moisture is largely lost by the time the air descends at subtropical latitudes. That's why most of the world's deserts are situated in the subtropics.


Seager recognizes that the stakes of his drought research are high. "The prospect of a drought on par with the 1930s is a matter of serious concern," he says. "With some two million people displaced, the Dust Bowl was probably the worst environmental disaster in the nation's history -- even counting the current oil spill in the Gulf."

Seager is quick to add, however, that many features of the Dust Bowl are unlikely to be repeated. For one thing, he says, "we have learned an awful lot about soil conservation since the 1930s."

Seth Shulman has worked for more than 25 years as a writer and editor specializing in issues in science, technology and the environment. A graduate of Harvard University, he has written five books and hundreds of articles for magazines including Smithsonian, The Atlantic, Parade, Discover, Rolling Stone, Popular Science, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Progressive, and Time, and for newspapers including the Times of London, The Boston Globe, and The Los Angeles Times.


Anonymous said...

What global warming? I thought there is no such thing.

Murphy's Law said...

I am blown away. I have lived in Texas all my life and I have never seen the temperatures or a drought as widespread and extreme and damaging as this one. Climate warming is becoming more believable to me because I have seen the conditions worsen over the years. There are shorter periods of rain and longer droughts. Those gigantic dust storms in Arizona were big eyeopeners for me also.

Snow Wetter said...

No, the right wing says global warming is a hoax, even though their stupid butts are getting singed more and more.

More accurately, it is climate change (not simply global warming) as some areas are getting warmer and some getting colder or more wet.

In other words, the heat in Texas is Obama's fault.

M. S. Hollis said...

The sifting soils from the heart of the Oklahoma Dust Bowl run through my veins. They are deeply ingrained in my soul. That special place defined my ancestors and has shaped my existence. I was born in the blowing dirt and continue to own a ranch where the wind blows and the rains are sparse.
I learned early to conserve water when the rains came and to turn on the wells when rainfall was scarce.
Here the greedy self serving fools advocate the opposite. Does that make a lick of sense?

Only pontificators, buffoons, politicians and fools attempt to equate this current minor Texas dry spell with anything on the scale of the 1930s in the No Man's Land.
Any student of Texas history will teach you that,
Rest assured that the torrential rains will come again and when they do God help us all because homes will flood and people will wash away.
As for the idiotic Global Warming, Agenda 21 alarmists and manipulators for their personal gain, a quick lesson in geology will enlighten you that climate always changes and always has.
Hays County and my backyard has been under an ocean, dry land, submerged, uplifted, coral reef over and over again.
Did you know that the great battles of the Civil War were not fought here in
Texas only because this entire region was in a horrible drought during the entire time frame of the conflict?
Fast forward to 1998, the southern jet stream split over Canyon Lake and New Braunfels was under the influence of a hurricane. Chaos, death and flooding destroyed property and killed many. The same thing happened in 2001 right here in Wimberley.

There are so many false prophets that want to frighten and to miss lead you for their personal gain. Wake up. They are merely spewing idiocy like Y2K and the Mayan calendar hoax.

Climate change? The earth's crust floats on a molten core driven by solar flare activity.

Empower yourself and crush these thieves.

This current North American global weather pattern is almost exactly the same as the 1950s.

FYI: All of this planet's northern polar glaciers melted between 4,000 to 5,000 years ago and it didn't have anything to do with humans or manufacturing. No ice age man had to pay a carbon tax yet the glaciers reformed. Feel duped yet?
Climate always changes.