24.14% of America is in extreme or exceptional drought, nearly a quarter of the Lower 48 States.
16.18% of Minnesota in severe drought, down slightly from 16.25% last week.
69.14% of Iowa in extreme drought, up from 30.74% last week.
Photo credit above: "Buchanan County, Mo., employees Ron Martin prepares to go back out onto Lake Contrary Thursday afternoon Aug. 9, 2012, in his jon boat to pick up more dead fish while Shane Hartman tosses what he collected into a front end loader. Low water levels and extreme heat caused a sizable fish kill in the Oxbow lake that the Missouri Department of Conservation estimates to be about 20,000 mostly invasive Asian Carp." (AP Photo/The St. Joseph News-Press, Eric Keith)
Less Arctic Ice Than 2007? Unusually warm weather is creeping into the Arctic, where ice loss is on pace with the previous record, 2007. Not only the aerial extent of ice but the volume of ice is dropping rapidly; details below.
Photo credit above: "A dry field of corn is seen near Ashland, Neb., Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. The latest U.S. drought map shows that excessively dry conditions continue to worsen in the Midwest states that are key producers of corn and soybeans. This is the worst U.S. drought in decades. The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday, Aug. 9. 2012 shows that the area gripped by extreme or exceptional drought rose nearly 2 percent to 24.14 percent." (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Graphic credit above: "Average sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies (C) for the week centered on 1 August, 2012. Anomalies are computed with respect to the 1981-2010 base period weekly means."
Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the season – June 1 to November 30 – NOAA’s updated seasonal outlook projects a total (which includes the activity-to-date of tropical storms Alberto, Beryl, Debbie, Florence and hurricanes Chris and Ernesto) of:
- 12 to 17 named storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), including:
- 5 to 8 hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher), of which:
- 2 to 3 could be major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of at least 111 mph)
The Edge of Drought
You may not believe it but we've been relatively lucky this summer. No deadly tornadoes or flash floods; ample soil moisture for much of Minnesota. Yes, drought is creeping into southern & western counties; a third of the state now in moderate drought. It could be much worse. The percentage of Iowa in extreme drought has spiked from 30 to nearly 70 percent in just the last week. I've never seen that before.
NOAA NCDC says 2012, to date, is the most extreme year ever recorded across the USA - even more temperature & rainfall extremes than 1934, the previous record, at the height of the Dust Bowl. Every day I drive into the Weather Center studios, holding my breath. What next?
A weak bubble of high pressure chases away the clouds today. Expect comfortable sun; 70s with a dew point near 50. Saturday looks like the sunnier, nicer day. Another clipper-like system sparks showers Saturday night into a portion of Sunday. Get out tomorrow, if possible.
Cool 70s linger the next 3 days. Yes, it's good to be "average again".
Enjoy, because highs may approach 90 by next Wednesday.
Drumroll: NOAA says El Nino should return by autumn. Another milder Minnesota winter? Place your bets.
* photo credit above: Seth Perlman, AP.
Arctic Sea Ice Extent. We're on track for a new record ice minimum within 30 days.
Arctic Sea Ice Volume. Volumetric trends in the Arctic are even more troubling, literally off the scale. Graph: PIOMAS.
Photo credit above: Nati Harnik, AP. "Jerry Johnson of Ashland uses his antique 57 Ford tractor to mow vegetation around his drying pond in Ashland, Neb., Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012, which he hopes will keep the critters away."
Photo credit above: Robert W. Hart for The Texas Tribune. "
- Build Community -- it helps. If your existing community watches Fox News, or listens to Rush Limbaugh, then your new concern about climate change will cause some cognitive dissonance. That's OK, you'll be facing cognitive dissonance quite a bit at first, like every time you switch on a light or drive your car. Joining a community that recognizes the paradoxes that climate change brings to modern Americans can help during those first troubling weeks, months, and years.
- Listen to upbeat messages. Upbeat, positive messages about humanity, or about our ability to change, adapt, survive, and help each other through tough times can be helpful in countering anxiety after reading several depressing articles about the coming climate-pocalypse. A good example is a lyric from Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds": "Every little thing, gonna be alright."
Waterworld homes: When the waters rise, tomorrow's buildings may rise with them as floating structures. Koen Olthuis, head of Waterstudio.NL, has begun working on projects ranging from floating apartments in the Netherlands to a floating mosque in the United Arab Emirates."