Image: Pew Center on Global Climate Change
While the East Coast got slammed by an unusually large and northbound hurricane, Texas is still reeling from its worst drought since record-keeping began. Since I am a responsible climate journalist, I will only note in passing that this kind of trend is exactly what the scientists predict we will continue to see more of with the advance of man-caused global warming: Hot, arid areas will get even hotter and more arid, while wet areas will see more and more precipitation as the warmer air holds more moisture.
But back to Texas. Just take a look at these numbers to get a sense of just how hot and dry it's been in the Lone Star state ... Pew Climate explains the graphic above (click here for a full-sized image):
Figure 1 shows the year of the worst 6-12 month drought for various areas in Texas. For 55.8 percent of the state, the current drought is the worst on record. No other drought was as bad in so many places. The previous standard for a one year drought, 1925, can now only be considered the worst ever in 14.6 percent of the state.As for precipitation, the state has only received 6.5 inches of rain the entire year (a major departure from the standard 16 it typically receives). And that number too, is record-breaking. Take a look:
Pew points out that Texas has been dry for longer -- but never this dry in this much of the state for an entire year. That's why this is a record-breaking event. And that's why it has some of the state's climatologists very concerned: "Texas climatologists have recently stated that the ongoing dry spell is the worst one-year drought since Texas rainfall data started being recorded in 1895."
Maybe Texans -- and the rest of us -- should start doing more than just praying for rain.
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