If it weren’t for the seriousness of the matter, I would feel a delicious sense of schadenfreude about THIS:
If the latest news reports are any indication, the droughts that have wracked a large portion of the contiguous United States continued piling on the damage in Texas and Oklahoma through 2012. The effects will reverberate for years — and global warming will make such brutal droughts (or worse) the region’s normal climateif we keep listening to the deniers’ call to inaction.
It’s a particular bitter irony, given that the political and media cultures of both states, with Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)leading the charge, have been contributing enthusiastically to climate change denialism.
The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration recently determined that 2012 was the hottest year on record for the lower 48 states, and research by NOAA and other institutions has linkedextreme events like Texas and Oklahoma’s drought to climate change. As of December 2012, more than 42% percent of the lower 48 states were experiencing“severe” drought conditions, and 63% of the United States’ new winter wheat crop is in the drought-hit areas.
Climate change and global warming exacerbatethe cycles that lead to more frequent and severe droughts: Precipitation patterns shift to dry spells interspersed with deluges, rather than a more even distribution, and snow melts occur earlier. The overall result is less well-watered soil, which then evaporates more rapidly under global warming’s higher temperatures. That means less moisture in the air, meaning even less precipitation, while the drier ground is left to bake — thus driving air temperatures even higher.