Archive

Posts Tagged ‘droughts’

2011 Was A Year of Weather Extremes, With More to Come

February 2, 2012 Comments off

treehugger.com

The global average temperature in 2011 was 14.52 degrees Celsius (58.14 degrees Fahrenheit). According to NASA scientists, this was the ninth warmest year in 132 years of recordkeeping, despite the cooling influence of the La Niña atmospheric and oceanic circulation pattern and relatively low solar irradiance. Since the 1970s, each subsequent decade has gotten hotter — and 9 of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred in the twenty-first century.


© Earth Policy Institute

Each year’s average temperature is determined by a number of factors, including solar activity and the status of the El Niño/La Niña phenomenon. But heat-trapping gases that have accumulated in the atmosphere, largely from the burning of fossil fuels, have become a dominant force, pushing the Earth’s climate out of its normal range. The planet is now close to 0.8 degrees Celsius warmer than it was a century ago. Hidden within Read more…

OP-ED Expanding Deserts, Falling Water Tables and Toxins Driving People from Homes

August 23, 2011 1 comment

ipsnews.net

Saharan dust blowing off west coast of Africa, over the Canary Islands, Nov. 11, 2006. Image credit:NASA

WASHINGTON, Aug 23, 2011 (IPS) – People do not normally leave their homes, their families, and their communities unless they have no other option. Yet as environmental stresses mount, we can expect to see a growing number of environmental refugees. Rising seas and increasingly devastating storms grab headlines, but expanding deserts, falling water tables, and toxic waste and radiation are also forcing people from their homes.

Advancing deserts are now on the move almost everywhere. The Sahara desert, for example, is expanding in every direction. As it advances northward, it is squeezing the populations of Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria against the Mediterranean coast.

The Sahelian region of Africa – the vast swath of savannah that separates the southern Sahara desert from the tropical rainforests of central Africa – is shrinking as the desert moves southward. As the desert invades Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, from the north, farmers and herders are forced Read more…

City breaks record for most 100-degree days in a year

August 20, 2011 Comments off

mywesttexas

test4Record-Breaking Heat

Record-Breaking Heat

Midland is officially in the midst of the hottest summer on record.

With a high temperature of 100 degrees Friday, the record for 100-degree days in one year is now 53, breaking the old mark of 52 previously set in 1964. With triple-digit temperatures expected through the weekend, the hot conditions will continue into the first part of the school year.

Midland experienced 21 days of triple-digit temperatures in 2010.

“This has been an abnormal weather year,” Read more…

Texas drought will harm wildlife habitat for years

August 8, 2011 Comments off

physorg

Texas drought will harm wildlife habitat for years (AP)

Turkey vultures drop in for a drink from one of the very few remaining watering sources on a private ranch that spans over 7,000 acres Saturday Aug. 6, 2011, near San Angelo, Texas. Randy Bolf, a fence contractor and rancher that leases the property for his cattle herd said that all of the rain and run-off watering tanks on the ranch that straddles Tom Green and Coke county have dried up and area wildlife and his cattle rely on the artificial watering sources he maintains on the property. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

(AP) — In a muddy pile of sand where a pond once flowed in the Texas Panhandle, dead fish, their flesh already decayed and feasted on by maggots, lie with their mouths open. Nearby, deer munch on the equivalent of vegetative junk food and wild turkeys nibble on red harvester ants – certainly not their first choice for lunch.

As the state struggles with the worst one-year in its history, entire ecosystems, from the smallest insects to the largest predators, are struggling for survival. The foundations of their habitats – rivers, springs, creeks, streams and lakes – have turned into dry sand, wet mud, trickling springs or, in the best case, large puddles.

“It has a compound effect on a multitude of species and organisms and habitat types because of the way that it’s chained and linked together,” said Jeff Bonner, a wildlife biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Since January, Texas has only gotten about 6 inches of rain, compared to Read more…

Categories: Droughts, Texas Tags: ,

Drought by area impacted is worst ever – though majority of US still drought free

August 2, 2011 Comments off

wattsupwiththat

From the University of Nebraska-Lincoln , a new record in the 12 year old drought monitor.

US sets drought monitor’s ‘exceptional drought’ record in July

Worst classification for drought in nearly 12 percent of contiguous US

US Drought Monitor, July 26, 2011

The percent of contiguous U.S. land area experiencing exceptional drought in July reached the highest levels in the history of the U.S. Drought Monitor, an official at the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln said.

Nearly 12 percent of the contiguous United States fell into the “exceptional” classification during the month, peaking at 11.96 percent on July 12. That level of exceptional drought had never before been seen in the monitor’s 12-year history, said Brian Fuchs, UNL assistant geoscientist and climatologist at the NDMC.

The monitor uses a ranking system that Read more…

Is the weather worsening?

August 1, 2011 Comments off

newspressnow

Extreme weather events occur every year in various parts of the earth, but the United States — and Missouri — have seen natural disasters strike its ground this year seemingly more often than not.The jury is still out as to what has caused these extreme events, pending major climatology studies that often take years to complete. Some say it’s due to a naturally variable earth, others argue it’s due to a changing climate, one that’s getting warmer and more intense, leading to weather events we’ve never seen, before calming down again.

Recent devastationMany scientists argue that 2010 was the most extreme year ever in terms of natural disasters across the globe. Devastating worldwide events made the headlines during what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said was the world’s warmest year on record (it tied with 2005).Among the most devastating were Pakistan’s flood, the most expensive natural disaster in its history, Russia’s deadliest heat wave in recorded history, and Read more…

The nine billion-dollar weather disasters of 2011 (so far); Invest 90L rises again

July 30, 2011 Comments off

wunderground

Dr. Jeff Masters

It’s been an unprecedented year for weather disasters in the United States, with the dangerous portion of hurricane season still to come. We’ve already seen nine billion-dollar weather disasters so far in 2011. The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) June disaster report estimates that, through May, 2011 is the costliest year since they began tracking billion-dollar disasters in 1980. The cost of the disasters through May could be as high as $32 billion, compared to a typical year-to-date cost of $6 billion. 2011 to-date now ties the entire year of 2008 for the most billion-dollar weather disasters in one year. Of course, this number could go up if we see some hurricane landfalls this year.

Here are NCDC’s estimates of the top-end damages from 2011’s billion-dollar weather disasters so far:

Missouri River Flooding
Snowfall was abnormally heavy in the Rocky Mountains of Montana and Wyoming this past winter (over 200% of average), and record rains fell over the Upper Read more…

Something is DEFINITELY wrong with our planet. (TIMELINE of Disasters, facts, and anomalies)

July 29, 2011 3 comments

godlikeproductions

Apotheosis

Earthquakes
Yes Earthquakes happen all the time. In fact, they’ve happened millions of times. They began recording them in the mid 1600’s and couldn’t accurately measure the magnitude until the mid 1700’s. After reviewing past earthquakes they found it very rare that an earthquake hit over 8.5 magnitude or higher. Here is the results of all 8.5 magnitudes or higher.

1600’s there were 2 the whole century.

Lima, Peru 8.5
Valdivia, Chile 8.5

1700’s there were 5 the whole century.

Pacific Ocean, USA and Canada 8.7-9.2
Pacific Ocean, Shikoku region, Japan 8.6
Valparaiso, Chile 8.7-9.0
Concepción, Chile 8.5
Lisbon, Portugal 8.5-9.0

1800’s there were 2 the whole century. Read more…

Horn of Africa drought seen from space

July 23, 2011 Comments off

physorg

Enlarge

The animation, derived from SMOS satellite data, shows soil moisture in the Horn of Africa from April to mid-July 2011. The orange and yellow colouring depicts little to no moisture, while green and blue depict higher levels of soil moisture. Credits: CESBIO/ESA

Drought in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti is pushing tens of thousands of people from their homes as millions face food insecurity in a crisis visible from space. ESA’s SMOS satellite shows that the region’s soil is too dry to grow crops.

Somalis, who already face war in their country, have been fleeing to neighbouring countries in search of refuge. In ’s Dadaab refugee camp, for example, over 1000 people – mostly children – arrive daily, severely dehydrated and malnourished.

While international aid agencies call this the ‘worst in decades,’ space technology has Read more…

First Famine of the 21st century a Wake-up Call

July 22, 2011 Comments off

ibtimes

The United Nations has officially declared Somalia’s food crisis a famine in several parts of the country.

A boy drinks water from a pond in Bule Duba village in the outskirts of Moyale, near the edge of Oroma and Somali regions of Ethiopia, June 12, 2009. Prolonged drought, lack of water and limited pasture have led to conflict between the Somali and Borena ethnic groups in southern Ethiopia which left hundreds of people dead in February this year. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) says it needs some 100 million Swiss francs to prevent conflict, famine and epidemics as well as restore the livelihoods of 2.5 million people in the Horn of Africa. Picture taken June 12, 2009. REUTERS

The UN says consecutive droughts over the last few years in Somalia have created a famine in two regions of the south. It is now appealing for immediate action to keep the crisis from spreading to other parts of the region.

International aid agency Oxfam said, the UN announcing famine in parts of Somalia, the first in the region in the 21st century, must be an urgent wake up call to the rest of the world for greater action in East Africa.

Across Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, 12 million women, men and children are in dire need of food, clean water and basic sanitation, following two years of failed Read more…