Their View: Heat waves, droughts, and...

Their View: Heat waves, droughts, and global warming: the connection

There are 2 comments on the Las Cruces Sun-News story from Aug 16, 2012, titled Their View: Heat waves, droughts, and global warming: the connection. In it, Las Cruces Sun-News reports that:

In the state of Texas, the three-month period June through August 2011 was by far the hottest and driest ever recorded.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Las Cruces Sun-News.

Fun Facts

Huntsville, AL

#1 Aug 16, 2012
From the op ed.

"In the state of Texas, the three-month period June through August 2011 was by far the hottest and driest ever recorded."

This is a true statement. A misleading statement because it offers no perspective, but true. The 1950s had the same type of drought and the same type of triple digits temps as the current period.

"The 1950s Drought

Fueled by post-war economic stability and technological advancement, the 1950s represented a time of growth and prosperity for many Americans. While much of the country celebrated a resurgence of well-being, many residents of the Great Plains and southwestern United States were suffering. During the 1950s, the Great Plains and the southwestern U.S. withstood a five-year drought, and in three of these years, drought conditions stretched coast to coast. The drought was first felt in the southwestern U.S. in 1950 and spread to Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska by 1953. By 1954, the drought encompassed a ten-state area reaching from the mid-west to the Great Plains, and southward into New Mexico. The area from the Texas panhandle to central and eastern Colorado, western Kansas and central Nebraska experienced severe drought conditions. The drought maintained a stronghold in the Great Plains, reaching a peak in 1956. The drought subsided in most areas with the spring rains of 1957.

The 1950s drought was characterized by both low rainfall amounts and excessively high temperatures. Texas rainfall dropped by 40% between 1949-1951 and by 1953, 75% of Texas recorded below normal rainfall amounts. Excessive temperatures heated up cities like Dallas where temperatures exceeded 100F on 52 days in the summer of 1953. Kansas experienced severe drought conditions during much of the five-year period, and recorded a negative Palmer Drought Severity Index from 1952 until March 1957, reaching a record low in September of 1956.

A drought of this magnitude creates severe social and economic repercussions and this was definitely the case in the southern Great Plains region. The drought devastated the region's agriculture. Crop yields in some areas dropped as much as 50%. Excessive temperatures and low rainfall scorched grasslands typically used for grazing. With grass scarce, hay prices became too costly, forcing some ranchers to feed their cattle a mixture of prickly pear cactus and molasses. By the time the drought subsided in 1957, many counties across the region were declared federal drought disaster areas, including 244 of the 254 counties in Texas."

If you read the reference from NCDC you will notice that drought appears to happen every 30 years back to the first decade of the 1900s. Remember the heat wave of 1980? Or the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

Doesn't appear to be "100 year events", it appears to be 30 year events.

In science it is necessary to look at info and to ask questions about what is observed. So let's ask, what also happens in 30 year cycles?

The biggest climate makers on earth are our oceans. Our oceans have oscillations. The Pacific has a 30 year oscillation. Every 30 years, approx, the pacific has a phase shift. It shifts from positive to negative &vice/versa. Most recently those phase shifts have been in 1947, positive to negative; 1977, negative to positive; and 2007, positive to negative.

It is interesting that the phase shift in 1947 and 2007, positive to negative resulted in the same climate pattern. Drought and high temps in both periods, 1950 to 56 and 2010 to current.

It's also interesting that the 30 years ending in 1947 and the 30 years ending in 2007 both saw increasing temps with the earlier period having the same rate of increase, if not slightly higher, than the warming period that ended in 2007.

And that's just one ocean oscillation and it's correlation with temps.

There's a lot more information out there, take a look, you'll be amazed, but you will no longer be a believer.

“Happy, warm and comfortable”

Since: Oct 10

Mountain retreat, SE Spain

#2 Aug 16, 2012
"In the state of Texas, the three-month period June through August 2011 was by far the hottest and driest ever recorded."

How long's that pesky record, Tex?
Not very long, pardner.

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