The American Drought Of 2012
By Paul Homewood
According to Jeff Masters, last year’s drought in the US was “America’s worst drought since the 1930s Dust Bowl “, and “one of the most expensive weather disasters in world history”.
But how bad was it really? As usual, it is a good idea to check the facts.
According to NCDC, the year was only the 15th driest on record since 1895. In other words, the sort of occurrence that could be expected every 8 years!
The claim that it is the worst since the 1930’s is blatant nonsense. A bunch of years in the 1950’s were almost as bad as the dustbowl era, and, more recently, 1988 was a much drier year.
Compare the above map for 2012, with the one below for 1910, the driest year on record. Drought in 1910 was much more extensive, and intensive, than last year. There were 36 states with below average rainfall in 1910, compared to 27 last year.
Rainfall trends are actually increasing, and the remarkable thing about the last 20 years has been the lack of droughts. Global warming may be responsible for all sorts of things, but it appears that US droughts is not one of them.
It seems a pity that you cannot get this information from Jeff Masters.
While I’m On The Subject!
In the article, that I linked to above, Jeff Masters gives a list of “Billion dollar weather disasters of 2012”, of which there are 26, and which he introduces by saying “It was another year of incredible weather extremes globally during 2012”.
Curiously, of the 26 events listed, 5 are for US tornado events. I say “curiously”, because, as we all know, last year was one of the quietest years on record for tornadoes. The fact that they may be “billion dollar” events has everything to do with economic growth and inflation, and absolutely nothing to do with “incredible weather extremes”.
But I don’t suppose Jeff will bother pointing this out either.