Environment/Nature

Everyone talks about the weather. Thank god we’re finally doing something about it

Except it’s probably the wrong thing. First up, here’s the US drought monitor from last week—these get posted on Thursdays. I imagine the one to come out this Thursday will look pretty similar. Notice that the only state not seeing some sort of abnormally dry weather conditions is Maine. That’s it.

This is already having some impacts in the US agricultural and food sectors, as one might imagine. It may last a while, too. But I bet you hadn’t thought about brownouts as a result of this, had you? Think again. This is worst drought in the US since 1956.

Then there’s Europe, which we haven’t heard about because it’s less severe, but could be just as significant. Here’s what that map looks like, with more info here. And let’s not forget Russia, which may or may not be exporting this year. Where else? Oh, Korea, with its worst drought in a century. And then there’s China, which always seems to be having a drought somewhere. In spite of the record rainfall in Beijing this past weekend. Well, it’s a big country.

What to make of it all? Is this “what global warming looks like?” Well, I’m not a climate scientist, and even they aren’t unified on this—there’s still a fair amount of caution about extrapolating from long term trends to short term weather phenomena. But they’re pretty close to being unified, and there does seem to be a trend, and it’s not a good one. In my day job, trends are important—they mean something. The problem here is that if it’s a real trend, it’s not exactly our friend. Personally, I’m glad to be living on a small island in the North Atlantic. Not that we’re immune to weird weather here. This week we’ve finally got some summer weather, and boy, is everyone enjoying it. But it’s the middle of July, and up until last week I was still wearing a jacket every day.

So in the meantime, whether or not extreme weather events are increasing, it sure seems that way. And it’s still the middle of July—which means it’s not even August yet. You know, the hot month. Remember those folks in the State of Georgia a couple of years ago who thought that praying was a good option? Well, it didn’t work, since Georgia is once again in the grips of one of the most severe droughts in the US. Maybe they should have prayed harder.

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