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Thu Feb 21, 2013, 10:43 PM

Worst Drought in 1,000 Years Could Begin in Eight Years

Beginning in just eight years, we could see permanent climate conditions across the North American Southwest that are comparable to the worst megadrought in 1,000 years. (1)

The latest research from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University published in December 2012 has some truly astounding news. The megadroughts referred to in the paper published in Nature Climate Change happened around about 900 to 1300 AD and are so extreme that they have no modern counterpart for comparison (these megadroughts will be referred to in the following as the "12th century megadrought"). The research was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

We have been warned for decades that we would be facing a megadrought if we did not do something about climate pollution. We did not, and now according to the projections of a new study, that is just what the future may hold. And remember, projected conditions similar to the worst megadrought in 1,000 years would be the baseline conditions. Dry periods, which we normally refer to as drought times today, would be superimposed on top of the megadrought extremeness.

The Lamont-Doherty research not only includes one of the four new climate scenarios, but also uses the new high-resolution climate models that provide more detail and accuracy. Both will be found in the forthcoming 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report (IPCC 2013). The authors tell us about the new climate scenario:

--CLIP


MORE...

http://truth-out.org/news/item/14655-worse-drought-in-1000-years-could-begin-in-eight-years

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Reply Worst Drought in 1,000 Years Could Begin in Eight Years (Original post)
Purveyor Feb 2013 OP
Smilo Feb 2013 #1
FirstLight Feb 2013 #4
Smilo Feb 2013 #28
Warpy Feb 2013 #5
Smilo Feb 2013 #29
Warpy Feb 2013 #30
ThomThom Feb 2013 #34
Warpy Feb 2013 #36
ThomThom Feb 2013 #37
LeftInTX Feb 2013 #2
chervilant Feb 2013 #3
TexasTowelie Feb 2013 #6
JVS Feb 2013 #7
AverageJoe90 Feb 2013 #9
AverageJoe90 Feb 2013 #8
LeftInTX Feb 2013 #10
AverageJoe90 Feb 2013 #12
joshcryer Feb 2013 #15
AverageJoe90 Feb 2013 #17
joshcryer Feb 2013 #19
aquart Feb 2013 #20
sikofit3 Feb 2013 #27
joshcryer Feb 2013 #35
sikofit3 Feb 2013 #38
Selatius Feb 2013 #11
AverageJoe90 Feb 2013 #13
joshcryer Feb 2013 #16
davidpdx Feb 2013 #14
AverageJoe90 Feb 2013 #18
joshcryer Feb 2013 #22
lunatica Feb 2013 #23
GliderGuider Feb 2013 #25
AverageJoe90 Feb 2013 #31
joshcryer Feb 2013 #21
Earth_First Feb 2013 #24
Purveyor Feb 2013 #26
AverageJoe90 Feb 2013 #32
slackmaster Feb 2013 #33

Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 10:48 PM

1. I think it will be sooner

living in high desert country of NV - we had one strong storm come through maybe 5 weeks ago. Over that five weeks we were told that more was coming only to find it passed by with nary a drop. The latest was forecast for this week with warnings of several inches - nothing - but CO and KS were hit hard.

Snow fall gives us the snow pack and that is our water - it is a scary thought of what is to come.

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Response to Smilo (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 12:07 AM

4. Yep...Tahoe is bone dry too

Seems every storm that comes thru they say "OH! it's gonna be x-inches!" and then we just get spit on... Supposedly it's falling at the upper elevations, but I can bet Mt Tallac will be snow free by June...

What do you do for water out there? Is there an aquifer underground?

I mean, with the lake here, we will be hatin' it, but there's still water for drinking, etc...I guess that is one reason I haven't moved to the valley, I would be nervous in years to come about water.

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Response to FirstLight (Reply #4)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 12:39 PM

28. I think we steal your water!

Actually that's Reno.

I am up by VC - we are all on wells that can vary wildly, our water comes from mostly snow melt. It is going to be a bad fire season if things continue the way they are.

<a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=tBIlAQAAIAAJ&lpg=SL1-PA23&ots=eh5tqPZ1Dw&dq=virginia%20city%20highlands%20aquifer%20depth&pg=SL1-PA23&ci=76%2C129%2C380%2C466&source=bookclip"><img src="http://books.google.com/books?id=tBIlAQAAIAAJ&pg=SL1-PA23&img=1&zoom=3&hl=en&sig=ACfU3U1naNQxX2BmqzfrwJM38YyADHD-qg&ci=76%2C129%2C380%2C466&edge=0"/></a>

This link gives a quick overview.

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Response to Smilo (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 12:13 AM

5. It's scarier there than it is here in NM

where we're still on top of a fair sized aquifer. Warnings about aquifer depletion sounded as the drought really hit out here and lawn grass disappeared quickly. Some golf courses have started to install artificial turf on fairways. Progress is being made, although it's being made slowly.

Some of my neighbors have managed drought tolerant landscaping. Others have put down rock to keep the dust down. Grass has been reduced to tiny patches here and there.

People will adapt when you scare the hell out of them. They're doing it here.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #5)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 12:40 PM

29. I hate people who plant grass

- in drought areas they just don't get it - hey we can turn on our faucets and there is water so it must be okay - grrr

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Response to Smilo (Reply #29)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 04:23 PM

30. Pouring money on lawn grass for the pleasure of mowing it

in 100 degree weather is just not a concept I ever really understood.

I got the water bill from the previous homewoners and discovered they'd been paying $100/month in the winter, probably triple that in summer. I then shut off the irrigation system and let the damned thing die. Before the drought really got going, I had enough to mow. Now there's a bare yard that I keep tidy, a well established mullberry tree in the middle of it, and drought tolerant foundation planting.

I was the first on the block to let the grass go. Now there's only one lawn left.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #30)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 05:59 PM

34. if you don't mow ... it won't need much water

of course when you do mow it you will be cutting in the brown and it will look bad
we need no mow lawns that are natural grass that don't grow tall
but that would make golfing rough

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Response to ThomThom (Reply #34)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 06:22 PM

36. People have gone to tufts of ornamental grasses here

because they're the size of small shrubs and don't get any bigger and look good green or brown. That kind of lawn grass works very well. Keeping a putting green surrounding the house does not. It's a desert, folks.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #36)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 07:39 PM

37. trying to maintain a golf course lawn is just silly

the chemicals alone make no sense

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 10:49 PM

2. This doesn't sound good

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 11:35 PM

3. Drought conditions

in north Arkansas were so bad last year that the multitude of dying trees looked like freckles across the hillsides. Creeks that have been full of water for decades are now dry for much of the year.

There are countless other portents--March flowers arriving in February, April flowers arriving in March, chicory stunted and scraggly from lack of rain ...

It's gonna get a lot worse, and much more quickly than folks want to admit.

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 12:19 AM

6. Rain, rain go away...

that's why Rick Perry has to pray.

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 12:24 AM

7. 12th century megadrought? Didn't this used to be called the medieval warm period?

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Response to JVS (Reply #7)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 01:37 AM

9. Yes, but.....

Okay, I'll be honest: I'm a bit skeptical about this particular study, but when the next megadrought does occur, it could be perhaps exacerbated by anthropogenic effects this time around, and that IS something most scientists agree on.

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 01:34 AM

8. Forgive my skepticism, but....

Exactly HOW did the Lamont study come up with the conclusion that we'd be seeing a "megadrought" in as little as eight years, and supposedly, the worst one in a thousand? Have they forgotten that we're already in a drought NOW, the worst one since 1956? (And yes, I read the article, btw?) I'm not ready to totally cast this off yet, but I can't help but think that more research is going to be needed before we come to any more conclusions here.

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Response to AverageJoe90 (Reply #8)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 02:06 AM

10. Why is it starting in 8 years?

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Response to LeftInTX (Reply #10)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 03:31 AM

12. I'm assuming you hadn't read the article?

Okay, it did technically say, POSSIBLY, in as little as 8 years. It's still a stretch, though, IMO.

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Response to AverageJoe90 (Reply #8)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 05:17 AM

15. If you'd read the paper you'd know.

Jesus. Read the paper. It's not that hard to get it. Here, I'll even give you a direct link.

It's really simple.

To expand on their work further this is our water supply layered over the drought map:



It's going to get real.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #15)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 05:57 AM

17. Now I've seen it. Still not convinced about 2021, though.

Although, at the same time, the paper does also raise some valid concerns for the future of natural water supplies).

As I said before, it's not impossible that it COULD happen that soon, unfortunately, but again, 2021 just seems to be way too early for a possible MEGA-drought; I'd personally put my money more on 2040 to 2060, and that's in the case of sticking to A1FI(which may or may not happen).



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Response to AverageJoe90 (Reply #17)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 06:15 AM

19. It's interesting how you initially mentioned our current drought.

If you read the paper they expect the trend to continue, not abate, and the effects of the drought will be hard felt once water supplies have depleted sufficiently. This has been my #1 concern about climate change for about 5-6 years now. A megadrought (that is, a drought that occurs after depletion of easily acquired surface and subsurface freshwater sources) would be devastating to the world economy and to human populations.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #15)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 06:23 AM

20. Fracking's gonna help a lot.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #15)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 12:27 PM

27. On another note

How did you come up with this map? I am looking for a map just like this but with all water aquifers on top of the drought map for a GIS thesis paper on fracking. Sorry to impose this on the thread but I do not have enough posts to email you. Thanks! But yes this drought is very real and has dire consequences for us all!

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Response to sikofit3 (Reply #27)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 06:08 PM

35. I just grabbed the Ogallala svg file from Wikipedia.

I opened the svg file (click on the right side image) on Wikipedia and removed all but the Ogallala outline. I then grabbed the raw drought map from the archive page on the drought map site. Then, unnecessarily, I cleaned up the drought map in GIMP so I could trace it with Inkscape, and traced it in Inkscape so it would be cleaner. Then I put the Ogallala stripped SVG over the map. You can skip the tracing of the bitmap if you want.

Note: my projection is not 100% accurate since the Wikipedia source and the drought map site use slightly different projections. You will want to do a fit to get it right, and probably my approach is not good enough for a thesis. The academic data set is here: http://water.usgs.gov/GIS/metadata/usgswrd/XML/ofr00-300_sattk9697.xml

I wish I could help you with that. I found this site that could be of use (hope I'm not taking you off track here): http://water.usgs.gov/software/

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #35)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 08:16 AM

38. Thank you!

This is helpful..

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 02:43 AM

11. Wait until the aquifers underneath the Midwest run dry. Then we'll be in horrible problems.

The breadbasket of America would be broken unless the aquifers are saved from total depletion.

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Response to Selatius (Reply #11)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 03:32 AM

13. Which won't be easy to do, unfortunately. n/t

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Response to Selatius (Reply #11)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 05:19 AM

16. Check out my post #15, I made an overlay awhile back.

You can compare it to the latest drought map of course.

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 03:44 AM

14. I think it's very possible it already has started

We've had relatively dry summers here in South Korea when we are suppose to get pummeled by typhoons. The prices of vegetables and fruit are going through the roof. In addition to the problems with producing food, you have the desertification over in China where sand is picked up by the wind and blown over China picking up dust and other pollutants in China and heads toward South Korea and Japan. I have seen reports of that stuff hitting the west coast of the US. It's very very ugly.

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Response to davidpdx (Reply #14)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 06:01 AM

18. No, not yet, it hasn't, not here in the States anyhow, and I'm not convinced it'll happen soon.

....either.

However, though, a mega-drought at SOME point is not impossible, by any means, and there are already some concerns over water supply, particularly where the Ogallala is concerned, but 2021 seems way too early of a date to be calling for any predictions, TBH. I'd be putting my money more on 2040-60(though I'll admit that stranger things have happened; keep your fingers crossed).

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Response to AverageJoe90 (Reply #18)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 07:19 AM

22. Good news? It'll be tested / falsified in ... 8 short years.

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Response to AverageJoe90 (Reply #18)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 07:33 AM

23. What difference does it make if it happens now, in 8 years or in 30?

It seems that so far all the computer models have been way too optimistic in their forecasts. Not too long ago scientists were saying it would all happen in 100 years. Now it's happening every year, both in winter and summer. The polar ice cap is melting and so is the permafrost which is releasing methane which is accelerating climate change. We have no way of knowing how many tons of methane are being released right now.

arguing over a piddly few years is useless.

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Response to lunatica (Reply #23)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 09:22 AM

25. And speaking of "faster than expected"...

Major methane release is almost inevitable

We are on the cusp of a tipping point in the climate. If the global climate warms another few tenths of a degree, a large expanse of the Siberian permafrost will start to melt uncontrollably. The result: a significant amount of extra greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere, and a threat ironically to the infrastructure that carries natural gas from Russia to Europe.

The Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the planet, and climatologists have long warned that this will cause positive feedbacks that will speed up climate change further. The region is home to enormous stores of organic carbon, mostly in the form of permafrost soils and icy clathrates that trap methane a powerful greenhouse gas that could escape into the atmosphere.

The Siberian permafrost is a particular danger. A large region called the Yedoma could undergo runaway decomposition once it starts to melt, because microbes in the soil would eat the carbon and produce heat, melting more soil and releasing ever more greenhouse gases. In short, the melting of Yedoma is a tipping point: once it starts, there may be no stopping it.

For the first time, we have an indication of when this could start happening. Anton Vaks of the University of Oxford in the UK and colleagues have reconstructed the history of the Siberian permafrost going back 500,000 years. We already know how global temperatures have risen and fallen as ice sheets have advanced and retreated, so Vaks's team's record of changing permafrost gives an indication of how sensitive it is to changing temperatures.

The actual climate risks we face are far greater than the minimizers would like us to believe.

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Response to lunatica (Reply #23)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 05:22 PM

31. Not all, lunatica, not even close in fact.

Yes, it may indeed be true that the IPCC was a little too optimistic about Arctic ice melt, as well as a very small number of other things, but they have actually been about on the money with just about everything else, including and perhaps especially, temperature rise:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/contary-to-contrarians-ipcc-temp-projections-accurate.html

I find it unfortunate that some have bought into the hype pushed by certain parties that the IPCC has supposedly been "way too optimistic" on "everything", as you phrased it, when this belief simply does not quite square with reality.

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Response to davidpdx (Reply #14)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 07:16 AM

21. We may have a break or two in the current drought.

But once the arctic sea ice is gone (3 years or so), then the whole equation changes. That's why I find this latest model quite sobering.

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 07:39 AM

24. The current drought is affecting the Great Lakes as well...

There are lakes in this region that are 29" below their seasonal averages right now.

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Response to Earth_First (Reply #24)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 11:01 AM

26. Busting historic records, left and right...indeed. eom

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Response to Purveyor (Reply #26)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 05:23 PM

32. And so goes the roll of the climate change dice.....n/t

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 05:25 PM

33. Is "permanent climate conditions" an actual term of art? Google hits all go back to the same source,

 

i.e. the cited article.

If the climate changes over time due to various anthropogenic and natural forces, conditions aren't really permanent.

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