An exceptional drought is still scorching major parts of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. A new report from the National Drought Mitigation Center finds that over July, nearly 12 percent of the US saw exceptional drought conditions, the highest record since monitoring began a dozen years ago. Exceptional drought is the worst possible on a 5-scale drought scale.
The drought has been the worst in Texas, which hoped to see rain from Tropical Storm Don, but the storm fizzled out over the state. The drought, which spurred wildfires across the state, is one of the worst in Texas history and has led to 2 million acres of cropland to be abandoned.
A US report commissioned by the Bush Administration in 2007 and released in 2009 warned that the Southwest of the US would likely see warmer temperatures and worst droughts due to climate change. Much of what is currently being seen in the Southwest this summer was predicted in the report: drought would harm agriculture production, while wildfires would threaten personal property and forests.
Nearly half of the US (41 percent) is currently undergoing drought or abnormal dryness.
(07/21/2011) Arctic sea ice could hit a record low by the end of the summer due to temperatures in the North Pole that are an astounding 11 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit (6 to 8 degrees Celsius) above average in the first half of July, reports the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). Already the sea ice extent is tracking below this time in 2007, which remains the record year for the lowest sea ice extent. The sea ice hits its nadir in September before rebounding during the Arctic winter.
(06/30/2011) A prolonged drought in East Africa is bringing many of the region’s impoverished to their knees: the World Food Program (WFP) is warning that 10 million people in the region are facing severe shortages. While not dubbed a famine yet, experts say it could become one. Meanwhile, a recent study by FEWS NET/USGS has revealed that the current drought is the worst in 11 of 15 East African regions since 1950-51. Worsening droughts are one of the predictions for the region as the world grows warmer.
(05/12/2011) Megafires are likely both worsened by and contributing to global climate change, according to a new United Nations report. In the tropics, deforestation is playing a major role in creating giant, unprecedented fires.