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Posts Tagged ‘Droughts’

Continental US Experienced Warmest 12 Months in 117 Years

Posted by feww on July 10, 2012

Contiguous U.S. 2 degrees warmer in June than 20th century average

Continental U.S. experienced record-warm first half of the year and the warmest 12-month period since recordkeeping began in 1895.


Temperature Chart for Contiguous U.S. (January-June 1895-2012; 6-month average). Source: NOAA/NCDC

Scorching temperatures during the second half of June led to more than 170 all-time high temperature records broken or tied, NOAA reported.


Contiguous U.S. Temperature, July-June 1896-2012; 12-month average (year, temperature) – Source: NOAA/NCDC

  • The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 71.2°F last month, which is 2.0°F above the 20th century June average.
  • The July 2011-June 2012 period was the warmest of any 12-months on record for the contiguous U.S.
  • The average temperature for the U.S. was 56.0°F, or 3.2°F above the long term average for the 12-month period, with every state across the contiguous U.S. experiencing warmer than average temperatures, except Washington, which was near normal.
  • Precipitation total of 2.27 inches (national average), were 0.62 inch below long-term average.
  • “Temperatures in South Carolina (113°F) and Georgia (112°F) are currently under review by the U.S. State Climate Extremes Committee as possible all-time statewide temperature records,” NOAA reported.
  • Colorado experienced its warmest June on record, with a statewide temperature of 6.4°F above average.
  • As of July 3, 76.33 percent of the contiguous U.S. was Abnormally Dry or in Drought, with about 56.0 percent of the contiguous U.S. experiencing D1 – D4 drought conditions, marking the largest percentage of the country experiencing drought conditions since the U.S. Drought Monitor began over 12 years ago.
  • “Drought conditions worsened across much of the West, Central Plains, and the Ohio Valley, causing significant impacts on agriculture in those regions.” (see previous posts for details).
  • A list of select June temperature and precipitation records is posted  here.


U.S. Drought Map. Released July 5, 2012

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Posted in Global Disaster watch, global disasters, global disasters 2012, global drought | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Drought: State of Emergency Declared in Wisconsin

Posted by feww on July 10, 2012

Drought conditions prompt Wisconsin Gov to declare a state of emergency in 42 southern and central counties

Drought has hit plants during the most vulnerable time in their growing cycle, killing their pollen.

“The lack of rainfall since May in the southern half of the state has hit hard in a crucial part of the growing season,” Walker said in a statement. “Wisconsin Agricultural Statistics Service reports this week that most of the land in these counties is short or very short of soil moisture.”

  • With 78,000 farms across the state, Wisconsin is the nation’s top producer of cranberries, oats and snap peas and is among the top-five producing states of potatoes, maple syrup, sweet corn, green peas, cucumbers for pickles, and other crops, said Wisconsin Department of Agriculture.
  • The state is also home to about 13,000 dairy farms with an average of 100 cows.
  • All counties in the southern half of the state are affected.


U.S. Drought Map. Released July 5, 2012

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Other Global Disasters/ Significant Events

  • China.  Epic flooding and massive landslides spawned by extreme rain events have buried parts of 8 provinces in China affecting about 20 million people. Deaths, destruction and evacuations are occurring in Jiangsu, Anhui and Shandong provinces in east China, Henan and Hubei provinces in central China, Chongqing Municipality and Sichuan Province in southwest China and Shaanxi Province in northwest China,Xinhua reported. The official weekly toll currently stands at:
    • Dead or missing:  100 people
    • Displaced: 1.17 million people
    • Houses destroyed: 66,000
    • Destroyed or damaged crops: 982,400 hectares
    • A mile-wide landslide in Sichuan province is currently burying everything in it path, threatening to block rivers and cause additional disasters.
    • More than 113.36 million people, about 9 percent of the China’s population, have been affected by natural disasters (floods, hail and landslides has had the greatest impact, followed by droughts, earthquakes, snowstorms and typhoons), with at least 465 dead and and 97 missing in the first half of this year, the report said.

Posted in Global Disaster watch, global disasters, global disasters 2012, global drought, Global Food Crisis, Global Food Shortages, global ghg emissions, global health catastrophe | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Food: Worse times ahead

Posted by feww on May 4, 2008

Climate Change + Higher temperatures + Droughts + Floods + Soil erosion + Loss of topsoil + Pollution + Ground-level Ozone = Much Less Food in the Future

Scientists are warning that global warming would present great challenges on the way to produce more food in the future.

“There certainly are going to be lots of challenges in the future. Temperature is one of them, water is another,” said Lisa Ainsworth, a molecular biologist with the United States Department of Agriculture.

“In Northeastern China, low temperatures, a short growing season and lack of water limit production, so rising temperatures in the future may have beneficial impacts there,” said Ainsworth.

“However, in the southern parts of the country, higher temperatures will likely cause yield losses,” she told the reporters.

Higher temperatures coupled with ground-level ozone, which is produced as a result of sunlight interacting with greenhouse gases, added to extremes of floods and droughts is a recipe for disaster.

Ozone is a growing problem in the northern hemisphere and is already costing farmers billion of dollars in crop damage.


Effect of increasing ozone concentration (left to right: about 15, 80 and 150 ppb) on growth of (A) Pima cotton and nutsedge grown in direct competition with one nutsedge per cotton; (B) tomato and nutsedge
grown in direct competition with nutsedge (two-to-one); and (C) yellow nutsedge grown in the absence of competition. (Photo and caption: David A. Grantz & Anil Shrestha, UC Kearney Agricultural Center )

“In the major rice-growing regions, which are India and China, ground-level ozone concentrations even today are very high and certainly exceed the threshold for damage. Ozone is already decreasing yield potential in many areas,” Ainsworth said.

Significant amounts of rice yield are lost annually due to various abiotic stresses (e.g., salinity, droughts). Rice is the staple diet for about half of the world population, and about 90 percent of the world’s rice is produced in Asia.

UN experts believe that in low-latitude regions, slightest temperature rises of about 1ºC could affect crop yields.

The atmospheric CO2 levels have now reached about 388 parts per million from about 280 ppm prior to the Industrial Revolution.

“There is still a lot of uncertainty in the climate modeling when it comes to the regional level,” said Reiner Wassmann coordinator of the Rice and Climate Change Consortium at IRRI. “But it was clear temperatures would rise.”


A train travels along the flooded Darbhanga-Sitamadhi railway line in Bihar in this August 2, 2007 file photo. Massive monsoon floods in eastern India damaged vast areas of corn and affected the rice crop, government officials and farm experts said on Tuesday, adding that losses are being assessed. REUTERS/Krishna Murari Kishan (image may be subject to copyright!) See FEWW Fair Use notice.

“The other mega trend we see is that we will have more climate extremes. In some places there might be more drought, in others it may be submergence, from floods, in some places it might be both,” said Wassmann.


Lake Hartwell, February 2008, western South Carolina. Photo courtesy South Carolina Department of Natural Resources staff. (Source UNL)

“That is really a new challenge for development of cropping systems and I don’t want to limit it to only plant breeding. We have to be clear that this is no silver bullet and that if we speed-up plant breeding everything will be fine. Certainly not.

“We also have to improve crop management and water saving techniques have come into the picture to cope with drought,” he said. (Source)

High ozone levels can damage leaves on trees and crops (such as corn, wheat, and soybeans), reducing growth rates and crop yields. In 1995, ground-level ozone caused $2.7 billion in crop damage nationwide, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Due to its reactive nature, ozone also can prematurely degrade and wear out rubber, paints and other materials. (Source)

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