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Historic Drought Persists, Isaac Likely to Bring Relief to Some Areas

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According to reports from the US Drought Monitor, historic drought conditions persisted throughout much of the drought-stricken US this week. In total, about 63% of the country is still experiencing drought. Impacts to crops remain high. However, large areas planted earlier this year have provided some mitigation to what would otherwise be a terrible farming year. Nonetheless, food prices are expected to rise due to combined impacts from the US and Russian droughts.

Isaac, after lashing the Gulf Coast earlier this week, is expected to bring beneficial rains to much of the Mississippi valley. States in this region will likely see some abatement of drought conditions as many areas expect in excess of 5 inches of rain. A long, wet period would provide more overall benefit than a sudden tropical deluge. However, any major rainfall event should help conditions for ailing crops and struggling farmers. These rains are also likely to help relieve low water levels and increase river traffic for the Mississippi.

You can view expected rainfall amounts in the image, provided by NOAA, below:

West of the Mississippi, however, is a different story. Drought conditions are expected to continue or, potentially, worsen for parts of Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. And large sections that include Iowa, the mountain west and parts of Texas are still under the gun.

Overall, the worst drought in more than 50 years persists, still troubling many regions. Under a continued and worsening regime of global warming, such conditions are expected to become more frequent and intense. Alleviation for these self-inflicted problems require long-term policy action to drastically reduce fossil fuel consumption as well as measures to mitigate current and likely future damage to US agriculture due to drought.

Links:

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/tropical/qpf/tcqpf.php

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Large Tropical Storm Isaac Churns In Caribbean, May Rain on Republican Convention

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Forming over the tropical Atlantic early this week, Tropical Storm Isaac is a large system that models project may impact the Tampa Bay region just as the republican convention kicks off.

The ninth storm of a busy hurricane season, Isaac is currently spinning out massive thunderstorms as it plows through open water. According to the National Hurricane Center, Isaac is forecast to rapidly strengthen over the next 48 hours and could become a hurricane within that time-frame.

Forecast weather tracks bring the storm to the coast of Florida early next week, with some long-range tracks bringing it over the Tampa Bay region by sometime Monday or Tuesday.

Some researchers have linked the increase in hurricane frequency and intensity over the past few decades to ongoing global warming and the warmer oceans that result. Model studies have shown that higher temperatures do result in the most intense storms being more severe but conclusions have been mixed on storm number.

Many republicans deny that human beings are causing global warming. They are the representatives of political interests who have manufactured a false debate over the existence of human-caused climate change. Just this week, three oil company-funded specialists published an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal with the goal of appealing for a longer period of non-action on climate change. All of these individuals have received oil company funding. One of them is a former oil company executive.

The Journal and sources like it, however, have treated these individuals as if they were climate change experts. Nothing could be further from the truth. Two of the authors have never published a peer-reviewed paper on climate change. The third, one of the last remaining scientists who deny global warming, has been consistently proven incorrect by both data and observation.

Sadly, the Journal, since its acquisition by Newscorp, has become the mouthpiece for such nonsense. Even worse, the republican party, which once contained a number of members who recognized the validity of climate science, has since been gobbled up by oil company special interests bent on creating a cloud of silence, inaction, and misinformation over the issue.

Now a storm forms over hotter than average seas, plows through hotter than average air, and sets its sights on a land parched by climate-change induced drought. As republicans and their oil company allies gather in Tampa, let us hope that a climate-enhanced storm doesn’t cause them undue inconvenience or discomfort. We wouldn’t want the oil companies’ servants to be hampered by something so trivial as climate, after all.

Links:

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCPAT4+shtml/221908.shtml

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