If you consider some of my most recent reports on the Earth changes occurring worldwide, then you might not believe the following stories of record drought across America and the world. How can you have drought in the middle of severe thunderstorms, record tornado, heavy rainfall and widespread flooding? Have a look at the following map from the U.S. Drought Monitor, that shows areas across each state with or without drought conditions. The map features each area according to the level of intensity. These intensity levels are: Abnormally Dry, Drought - Moderate, Drought - Severe, Drought - Extreme and Drought - Exceptional. As can be seen on the map, the entire state of Texas is in a drought, and based on what we have seen so far, half of it could catch on fire at the slightest spark. A dire situation that forced Texas Governor Rick Perry to call on and appeal to a higher power from "all faiths and traditions" to end the drought that has turned much of his state into a tinderbox.
A report from NBC's 9NEWS yesterday, encapsulates the situation perfectly, as weather experts forecast heavy rains for the Colorado area, but not significant enough to help the drought conditions.
The Denver area has seen some much-needed moisture during the month of April, and the Colorado weather forecast shows more rain is on the way this week. Denver International Airport has reported 1.01 inches of rain so far. Unfortunately, that number is still well below average and not enough to significantly improve dry conditions. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, most locations along and east of Interstate 25 in Colorado remain under a severe drought. On Sunday night, an upper-level disturbance pushed rain showers along the Front Range and snow through Colorado's high country. Many locations near Denver saw a little more than .25 inches of precipitation. However, the Front Range needs to see a lot more rain to catch up on the lack of moisture since Jan. 1. According to Denver's official weather station at DIA, the Front Range is 1.46 inches below average for the year in precipitation.After recording one of its coldest winters in over 120 years, with temperatures averaging around 30 degrees during the month of December in 2010, Britain is currently facing one of the driest Aprils on record with many facing the prospect of drinking desalinated water this summer.
As Britain basks in the sun during one of the driest April's on record it seems one water provider has started up a revolutionary seawater plant just in time. The £270million Thames Water desalination plant, which took four years to build, was finally completed in June 2010. It works by removing the salt from the brackish water in the Thames Estuary before pumping the filtered liquid into its vast reservoirs. Engineers started running water through the system for the first time three weeks ago. 'We began using the desalination plant at one-sixth output on March 30, not because we need to but as part of the fine-tuning of the works and the training of its operators, and we have been using it intermittently since then,' Simon Evans of Thames Water told Mail Online. - The Daily Mail.In the Netherlands, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) recorded the warmest Easter Sunday ever.
Early in the afternoon the temperature in the KNMI’s home base of De Bilt had risen to 25 degrees Celsius, compared to 24.5 degrees during the previous warmest Easter holidays on 16, 17 and 18 April 1949. Even higher temperatures were recorded in the east of the country. However, temperatures in the northern island of Vlieland did not rise above 16 degrees and temperatures along the coast of South Holland are not much higher as the result of a cool wind blowing in from the sea. The unseasonable warm weather farther inland is caused by a high pressure zone to the northeast of the Netherlands, which produces a warm southeasterly wind. - RNW.In Asia, China is investing a whopping $612 billion in water conservation projects to combat against drought conditions. Recently, Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu urged local governments to prepare for floods and droughts and to intensify relief work, warning of a strong possibility of severe flooding and drought this year, saying that he is "not optimistic" about the situation in terms of current prevention efforts.
With climate change’s impact on the water resources of China threatening to limit supply to residents, the country is planning to invest 4 trillion yuan to combat water shortage. The government will spend a total of 4 trillion yuan, or $612 billion in water conservation projects over the next 10 years. This investment will focus on enhancing the water supply capacity for urban and rural areas, flood prevention systems, and the construction of farming infrastructure. In addition, to combat the country’s water shortage, its government has established a strict water resource management measure which was launched last January in a white paper known as the No. 1 document. As mandated in the No. 1 document, 10 percent of land-transfer fees which amount to some 60 to 80 billion yuan each year will be used to boost agricultural conservancy construction. China’s water consumption should also be controlled within 670 billion cubic meters by 2020. - Ecoseed.The situation is same on other continents and countries. Several weeks ago, the head of the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) said that severe drought had left more than five million people hungry across the Horn of Africa. A severity most experienced in Somali, where there seems to be no apparent end in sight to drought conditions, with experts expecting the situation to worsen. In South America, despite the deluge of floods in Brazil, Columbia and other countries, satellite images from NASA detected extensive impact of drought on the Amazon Forests.
Researchers at Boston University, NASA and Federal University, Vicosa, Brazil, have published a new NASA-funded study that shows widespread reductions in the greenness of forests in the vast Amazon basin in South America were caused by the record-breaking drought of 2010. "The greenness levels of Amazonian vegetation--a measure of its health--decreased dramatically over an area more than three and one-half times the size of Texas and did not recover to normal levels, even after the drought ended in late October 2010," said Liang Xu, the study's lead author from Boston University. The drought sensitivity of Amazon rainforests is a subject of intense study. Scientists are concerned that because computer models predict that in a changing climate with warmer temperatures and altered rainfall patterns the ensuing moisture stress could cause some of the rainforests to be replaced by grasslands or woody savannas, releasing the carbon stored in the rotting wood into the atmosphere, which could accelerate global warming. The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned similar droughts could be more frequent in the Amazon region in the future. The comprehensive study was prepared by an international team of scientists using more than a decade's worth of satellite data from NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM). Analysis of these data produced detailed maps of vegetation greenness declines from the 2010 drought. The study has been accepted for publication in "Geophysical Research Letters," a journal of the American Geophysical Union. The authors first developed maps of drought-affected areas using thresholds of below-average rainfall as a guide. Next they identified affected vegetation using two different greenness indexes as surrogates for green leaf area and physiological functioning. The maps show the 2010 drought reduced the greenness of approximately 965,000 square miles of vegetation in the Amazon--more than four times the area affected by the last severe drought in 2005. "The MODIS vegetation greenness data suggest a more widespread, severe and long-lasting impact to Amazonian vegetation than what can be inferred based solely on rainfall data," said Arindam Samanta, a co-lead author from Atmospheric and Environmental Research Inc. in Lexington, Mass. The severity of the 2010 drought was also seen in records of water levels in rivers across the Amazon basin. Water levels started to fall in August 2010, reaching record low levels in late October. Water levels only began to rise with the arrival of rains later that winter. "Last year was the driest year on record based on 109 years of Rio Negro water level data at the Manaus harbor. For comparison, the lowest level during the so-called once-in-a-century drought in 2005, was only eighth lowest," said Marcos Costa, coauthor from the Federal University in Vicosa, Brazil. - PR Newswire.I am not sure what are the short-term or long-term forecast for the world, but the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA) is predicting long-lasting drought to continue in the United States.
Drought conditions plaguing the southern region of the U.S. are not going away any time soon. Monday morning the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association, NOAA, hosted a webinar. The Climate Program Manager and Regional Director discussed the latest dry weather trends. Much of the southern region is in extreme to exceptional drought, conditions the areas have not seen in 50 to 100 years. Officials expected a dry spell in part because of the La Nina season, but they admit they could not predict it would last so long. “The last time we had such a dry period here in was 1967,” said Climate Program Manager Victor Murphy. “I think it's safe to say this has been the worst drought in 45 years or so.” NOAA officials are worried about what this dry weather will mean once we get into May which is typically a wet season. “When you don't get rainfall, or when you get low on your rainfall during a drought during a time of the year when it should be raining, or when it's that month of the year, that could be very significant,” said Murphy. NOAA is calling this period a historic event. - KVUE.Historic, indeed.