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Thread: Drought

  1. #1 Drought 
    Moderator Moderator
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    Apr 2007
    Washington State
    As the summer ends, Texas's hopes for the end of the warmest and driest year in their State's history. Not since the dust bowl days has this region seen as severe conditions, something we'll be reminded of as beef prices surge this winter after the wholesale and premature slaughter of tens of thousands of cattle facing starvation over this summer.

    While it's nearly impossible to attribute any one years events to long term climate change, the climate science points to similar events being much more common in the future and what we consider drought conditions today the norm over the South and Western plains by the middle of the century.
    To show what I mean I'll put up a chart from the Center of Atmospheric Research published last October. The chart shows the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI), which is based on temperature driven evaporation, rainfall normalized to the average conditions. Normal range is usually between -4.00 considered extreme drought, and +4.00 or greater considered extremely wet.
    So lets look at what it looks like in 50 years (below) based on most likely Co2 release scenario (which we continue to bust on the high side). PDSI for the 1930's averaged about -3 and peaked at -6 during the worst of the dust bowl.

    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
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  3. #2  
    cere-bum random's Avatar
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    Aug 2011
    Yeah, I kind of figured this was new normal.

    Our lake has new islands.

    “Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!”-George Carlin

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  4. #3  
    Comet Dust Collector Moderator
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    New Jersey, USA
    As an interesting contrast, New Jersey just had it's wettest month since records began in 1895

    Office of the New Jersey State Climatologist target=aug11

    The preliminary estimate of statewide August precipitation is 16.64". This staggering figure is 12.43" above the 1981-2010 average and is by a wide margin the wettest August on record. Or any calendar month for that matter, as it far surpasses the previous record of 11.98" in October 2005.

    An examination of observations from over 150 NJ CoCoRaHS stations shows that Freehold Township (Monmouth) received over two feet of rain in August (24.68", with one day missing when possibly a little light rain fell).

    (My CoCoRaHS station recorded 14.83")

    The weekend visit of Irene on the 27th-28th was preceded by an unprecedented evacuation of at least one million visitors and residents from coastal counties from Cape May to Monmouth. The morning of the 27th saw rain showers dotting the state, some in the north associated with the remnants of the front that brought the rain on the 25th. To the south, a shield of moderate to heavy rain began slowly moving northward. By evening, the entire state was receiving squalls with heavy rain, excessive wind and occasional lightning. At times, rainfall rates exceeded well over an inch per hour, with flash flooding quickly becoming a dangerous hazard. Trees began to topple, many uprooted due to the already saturated soils. Subsequently, wires came down and the bright greenish hue of exploding transformers illuminated the sky. By dawn on the 28th the heaviest rain had departed the south as Irene made landfall at Little Egg Harbor, just north of Atlantic City. By the time it exited into eastern Raritan Bay a few hours later Irene had been downgraded to a tropical storm. By mid morning the heavy rain made a full exit from NJ. Winds continued to gust strongly as the storm moved over New York City and into western Connecticut, the wind now from the northwest as opposed to earlier east to northeast gales, and some light showers passed through the state during the afternoon. By this time the secondary and major rivers within NJ were in flood stage. The smaller ones crested on the 28th, while the Raritan River did so on the 29th and the Passaic not until the 30th.

    Irene was the first hurricane to make landfall in New Jersey since 1903 and only the third since colonists settled the region (September 1821 was the other one). While fortunately arriving as only a weak category 1 storm, as the preceding paragraph began to explain, Irene impacted the state significantly through a combination of coastal flooding, strong wind, and heavy rain. Coastal areas suffered beach erosion and some structural damage, however escaped what would have been far more significant consequences had the storm arrived stronger.

    Tropical storm force winds throughout NJ brought down numerous trees onto homes and power lines resulting in structural damage and the loss of power to almost one million customers. Along the coast, winds gusted to near hurricane force, reaching 69 mph at Harvey Cedars (Ocean), 66 mph at the Atlantic City Marina (Atlantic), 65 mph at Point Pleasant Beach, with similar gusts from Cape May to Sandy Hook. Inland, gusts were in the 40-60 mph range. The minimum pressure in the eastern third of the state was 28.45"-28.65", with the western third between 28.75"-28.85".

    Last edited by MeteorWayne; September 12th, 2011 at 02:39 PM.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    Colorado has just had its hottest August on record.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Professor Wild Cobra's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    Sorry Lynx, I don't buy it. just more scares from an area of science not fully understood yet.
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  7. #6  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    South Africa
    Sorry Lynx, I don't buy it.
    Thanks for telling us.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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