compiled by Dee Finney




Above: Most of the western U.S. is suffering from some degree of drought. The darkest color on this map represents the most extreme category of  drought in NOAA's classification scheme. Click on the image for a larger version with legend. Image courtesy 
National Drought Mitigation Center


DROUGHT - 2006-2007

Arizona's shrinking lake provides a stark warning to America's thirsty west

Dan Glaister in Lake Powell, Arizona
Monday October 11, 2004
The Guardian

An unexpected sight greets the holidaymaker out for a gentle cruise on the 186-mile Lake Powell in Arizona. A mile or so upriver from the Glen Canyon dam stand red and green channel markers to guide those on the water. But the signs planted in the riverbank are of little use today: thanks to a drought which is entering its sixth year, the lake's water level has dropped by 40 metres (130ft), leaving the signs on each bank stranded at the top of a cliff.

Steve Ward, who works for a tourism company, steers his motorboat into a bay and points to an island across the sparkling blue water. "Normally we'd go across there to leave the bay," he says, "Right now we can't, because there's land in the way."

That land, like the many newly emerged beaches dotted around the lake, would normally be under 30 metres of water.

Lake Powell, the second largest reservoir in the US, which fills the canyons straddling the border between Utah and Arizona, is an important link in the chain of water supply drawn from the Colorado river. So the falling water levels are not just a story of a tourist attraction facing tough times, but an environmental problem that may have a fundamental impact on life in seven of the states of the western US, notably the thirsty states of California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.

That supply keeps agriculture in the south-west of the US irrigated, provides for the needs of industry, keeps lawns sprinkled and green, and enables people to wash their cars and themselves. Without the water from the Colorado river most of the west would revert to its natural state: a desert.

This year the drought has hit home, causing alarm among the community of scientists, technicians and bureaucrats whose job it is to slake the thirst of the west.

"If the drought continues it will force the states to sit down and take some truly tough decisions," says Ken Rice, the manager of the dam, who works for the government's bureau of reclamation. "It really depends on what mother nature does over the next few years."

The threat of the drought is made tangible by the declining lake levels. Further down the Colorado river near Las Vegas, at Lake Mead - the biggest reservoir in the US, created by the Hoover dam - the remains of a once submerged village are starting to emerge.

At Lake Powell, the "bathtub ring", a white mark left on the orange sandstone of the canyon by the receding lake, provides a jarring reminder of where the water should be, and a handy indicator that the lake is just 38% full, with a level of 1,088 metres.

When the lake drops to 1,064 metres, it will have reached the minimum level at which the two power stations that use its water can operate safely, and the lake will effectively be decomissioned.

Pictures of the Lake Powell Lodge at Wahweap - literally "bitter water", the lake's largest resort - show it perched on the shore, water lapping at its foundations. Today it is a third of a mile from the water's edge.

The concrete launch ramp built to enable the thousands of holidaymakers who come to Wahweap each year to put their houseboats, dinghies, speedboats and jetskis on to the lake stops about 10 metres short of the water. It has been extended twice in the past year, and in August a system of welded steel tubes was laid into the water to provide additional access. The total cost of bringing the tourists back to the water's edge at Wahweap has been $5m (£2.8m).

But with the level of the lake falling by 53cm (20in) a week, unless there is significant rainfall between now and the spring, and unless the snowmelt that contributes most of the water increases on recent years, the ramp will have to be extended again for next year.

"We've been releasing more water than has been coming in, due to our legal obligations," says Mr Rice, turning to look out of his office window on top of the dam.

The legal obligations explain why the drought could have a profound impact on the way water is used as far away as California.

The Colorado river is the subject of a complex series of contracts and compacts dating back to 1922. Known as the law of the river, they establish a hierarchy of demand on the Colorado's water, with California having the greatest say.

Should the water start to dry up and real cuts in supply be made, other states will lose their supply before California, which receives some 14% of its water from the river. Water trading and legal fees are the most likely outcome of any attempt to implement the law of the river.

"Our role is to make the states understand that if they don't get their act together, we will step in," says Bennett Raley, assistant secretary for water and science at the US interior department, which oversees the bureau of reclamation.

Mr Raley, who has been going to water meetings since he was 11, says the drought should make people change the way they think about and use water, and that farming in the west should look both at its practices and at its choice of crops.

"People say that the west has obviously grown out of its water supply and must stop growing," he says. "That's reasonable on the face of it, but not true. The issue in time of drought is what will be the relationship between irrigated agriculture and the cities. The secretary of the interior does not have the legal authority to say, 'Needs have changed, we're going to reallocate water from agriculture to urban use.' The view of this administration is that the market is the best way to make those changes."

But some argue that the reservoir should simply be allowed to drain away. "Glen Canyon dam and Lake Powell are unnecessary and counterproductive for the water needs of the west," says Chris Peterson of the Glen Canyon Institute.

"They've destroyed one of the most beautiful places in the world. We're in a water management crisis. We're dealing with a system that is 50 years old. It's like a 57 Chevy.

"Since that time, America has started to appreciate its wildlife, and we've also realised that there are better ways of storing water. We live in a desert. There's plenty of water - the question is who gets it and how is it stored."

He predicts that if the drought continues (and some say that it is not a drought, but a return to normal conditions after a 50-year wet period), any attempt to enact the law of the river will become mired in litigation.

Mr Ward starts to climb the steep slope from the water's edge to the latest temporary car park. "I choose to be optimistic and tell people there's things we haven't seen for 30 years, come and see them before they're covered up," he says.

"I don't consider this drought to be a danger to Lake Powell as much as it is to the west of America. If this is a 30-year drought, things are going to have to change all over America."

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June 15, 2004


UNITED NATIONS - The world is turning to dust, with lands the size of Rhode Island becoming desert wasteland every year and the problem threatening to send millions of people fleeing to greener countries, the United Nations says.

One-third of the Earth's surface is at risk, driving people into cities and destroying agriculture in vast swaths of Africa. Thirty-one percent of Spain is threatened, while China has lost 36,000 square miles to desert -- an area the size of Indiana -- since the 1950s.

This week the United Nations marks the 10th anniversary of the Convention to Combat Desertification, a plan aimed at stopping the phenomenon. Despite the efforts, the trend seems to be picking up speed -- doubling its pace since the 1970s.

"It's a creeping catastrophe," said Michel Smitall, a spokesman for the U.N. secretariat that oversees the 1994 accord. "Entire parts of the world might become uninhabitable."

Slash-and-burn agriculture, sloppy conservation, overtaxed water supplies and soaring populations are mostly to blame. But global warming is taking its toll, too.

The United Nations is holding a ceremony in Bonn, Germany, on Thursday to mark World Day to Combat Desertification, and will hold a meeting in Brazil this month to take stock of the problem.

The warning comes as a controversial movie, "The Day After Tomorrow" is whipping up interest in climate change, and as rivers and lakes dry up in the American West, giving Americans a taste of what's to come elsewhere.

The United Nations says:

- From the mid-1990s to 2000, 1,374 square miles have turned into deserts each year -- an area about the size of Rhode Island. That's up from 840 square miles in the 1980s, and 624 square miles during the 1970s.

- By 2025, two-thirds of arable land in Africa will disappear, along with one-third of Asia's and one-fifth of South America's.

- Some 135 million people -- equivalent to the populations of France and Germany combined -- are at risk of being displaced.

Most at risk are dry regions on the edges of deserts -- places like sub-Saharan Africa or the Gobi Desert in China, where people are already struggling to eke out a living from the land.

As populations expand, those regions have become more stressed. Trees are cut for firewood, grasslands are overgrazed, fields are over-farmed and lose their nutrients, water becomes scarcer and dirtier.

Technology can make the problem worse. In parts of Australia, irrigation systems are pumping up salty water and slowly poisoning farms. In Saudi Arabia, herdsmen can use water trucks instead of taking their animals from oasis to oasis -- but by staying in one place, the herds are getting bigger and eating all the grass.

In Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece, coastal resorts are swallowing up water that once moistened the wilderness. Many farmers in those countries still flood their fields instead of using more miserly "drip irrigation," and the resulting shortages are slowly baking the life out of the land.

The result is a patchy "rash" of dead areas, rather than an easy-to-see expansion of existing deserts, scientists say. These areas have their good times and bad times as the weather changes. But in general, they are getting bigger and worse-off.

"It's not as dramatic as a flood or a big disaster like an earthquake," said Richard Thomas of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas in Aleppo, Syria. "There are some bright spots and hot spots. But overall, there is a trend toward increasing degradation."

The trend is speeding up, but it has been going on for centuries, scientists say. Fossilized pollen and seeds, along with ancient tools like grinding stones, show that much of the Middle East, the Mediterranean and North Africa were once green. The Sahara itself was a savanna, and rock paintings show giraffes, elephants and cows once lived there.

Global warming contributes to the problem, making many dry areas drier, scientists say. In the last century, average temperatures have risen over 1 degree Fahrenheit worldwide, according to the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

As for the American Southwest, it is too early to tell whether its six-year drought could turn to something more permanent. But scientists note that reservoir levels are dropping as cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas expand.

"In some respects you may have greener vegetation showing up in people's yards, but you may be using water that was destined for the natural environment," said Stuart Marsh of the University of Arizona's Office of Arid Lands Studies. "That might have an effect on the biodiversity surrounding that city."

The Global Change Research Program says global warming could eventually make the Southwest wetter -- but it will also cause more extreme weather, meaning harsher droughts that could kill vegetation. Now, the Southwest drought has become so severe that even the sagebrush is dying.

"The lack of water and the overuse of water, that is going to be a threat to the United States," Thomas said. "In other parts of the world, the problem is poverty that causes people to overuse the land. Most of these ecological systems have tipping points, and once you go past them, things go downhill."


Related Websites:

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification:

International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas:

University of Arizona Office of Arid Lands Studies:

Why so Dry?

The western U.S. is facing yet another summer of severe drought. Science provides some answers -- and some baffling questions.

May 21, 2004:  People often greet the first warm days of summer with eager anticipation for the sunny weather to come. But for many people in the western U.S., the arrival of warm weather this year is an harbinger of hard times ahead.

see captionDrought has gripped some parts of the West for as many as seven consecutive years, causing one of the worst dry spells in decades. Soils are dry; reservoirs are low. Farmers and golf course managers are vying for irrigation water, residents face water rationing measures, and the politics of water "seniority" rights is heating up between cities and between states.

Right: Lake Mead, an important water source in the West created in the 1930s by the construction of Hoover Dam, is approaching record low levels--hence the "bathtub ring" around the lake, shown here. Image courtesy US National Park Service. [More]

Hope for a reprieve fades with the departing winter, because little precipitation typically falls in the West during summer months. These regions depend on winter storms to stock the mountains with snow, which melts in summer and replenishes water supplies. The snow pack in April 2004, though, was only 40% to 75% of normal

The ongoing drought, which has affected 20% to 50% of the land area of the contiguous United States, isn't as bad as, say, the Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s. Then 70% of the U.S. was dry. In the Great Plains, precious topsoil blew away, agriculture collapsed, farmers literally lost their land. "The dispossessed were drawn west," wrote John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath. "Families, tribes, dusted out, tractored out. Car-loads, caravans, homeless and hungry. They streamed over the mountains--restless as ants, scurrying to find work to do--to lift, to push, to pull, to cut-- anything, any burden to bear, for food."

What causes such severe droughts? Are they predictable? Scientists aren't sure, but they're learning by studying the current dry spell. Earth-orbiting satellites, which didn't exist during the Dust Bowl years, now provide crucial data about winds, rain, soil moisture, and the state of the oceans. Somewhere among those numbers lies the answer.

A key factor is the temperature of water in the Pacific Ocean, says Bob Oglesby, a climate dynamicist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the Pacific alter the course of the jet stream as it flows eastward over North America. This high-altitude "river" of fast-moving air is like a conveyor belt for storms, so the path it takes across the continent has a strong effect on where rain and snow will fall. By steering the jet stream, the Pacific Ocean acts like a baton-wielding orchestra conductor directing the symphony of weather patterns across North America.

For example, a strong "El Niño" pattern of warm Pacific surface waters near the equator will drive storms into California, while the opposite "La Niña" pattern steers moisture-bearing storms further north to Washington state and Canada. One causes drought, the other alleviates it. But there must be more to the story: While a mild La Niña lurked in the Pacific during the onset of the current drought--as would be expected--a shift to a weak El Niño in 2003 did not reverse the drought.

Sea surface temperature patterns corresponding to El Niño and La Niña. Red/white denotes warmer water; purple denotes cooler. The heat content of the water was calculated from TOPEX/Poseidon satellite measurements of the water's height. [More]

"It's a really active area of research right now as people are trying to decipher exactly what's causing what," Oglesby says. He and his colleagues at the Global Hydrology and Climate Center are among those working to understand what's going on. In particular, Oglesby is investigating how the land and atmosphere interact with each other during a drought, focusing on the roles that snow cover and soil moisture play.

Part of the difficultly in understanding drought lies in the fact that weather involves many feedback loops that complicate its behavior and defeat simple cause-and-effect explanations. Soil moisture creates such a feedback loop during dry weather. Oglesby explains:

"Once you get into a dry pattern and you start to dry the ground out, that reduction in soil moisture can help to intensify and perpetuate the drought." Normally, the evaporation of soil moisture consumes much of the energy contained in the summer sunshine; without this moisture, that energy heats the ground instead and raises temperatures even further. Warmer temperatures create a high pressure system which, in turn, blocks storms from coming into the area. Drought begets drought.

Drought is a natural part of cyclical weather patterns in North America, notes Oglesby. Physical clues about ancient weather, such as tree rings and lake sediment cores, show that dry spells such as the Dust Bowl and a similar drought in the 1950s typically occur a few times per century. The historical record also reveals a "mega-drought," longer and more severe than any recent episodes, 500 or so years ago.

NASA climate dynamicist is Bob Oglesby.

In modern times "there's more to drought than simple lack of precipitation," adds Roger Pielke Sr., a state climatologist for Colorado and a professor of atmospheric sciences at Colorado State University. "You have to consider human factors like the amount of water being drained from rivers for crop irrigation and drinking water. In absolute terms, the ongoing dry spell is not yet as severe as the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, but the impacts have been relatively severe because the demands that people place on the water supply are so much greater now than they were back then."

This makes a complicated situation even more complicated. Land-use and water-use by humans; large-scale atmospheric circulation changes caused by ocean temperatures; feedbacks between the land and atmosphere: they all play a role. Climatologists can't yet put these factors together to predict what will happen many years in advance. Next winter is mystery enough. Will it bring much snow ... and relief? No one knows.

One thing seems sure, though: With levels of moisture in the soil and snow on the mountains both below average, people in the western U.S. are facing at least one more long, dry summer.

Credits & Contacts
Authors: Patrick L. Barry, Dr. Tony Phillips
Responsible NASA official: Ron Koczor



After four consecutive meagre harvests, the result of heat waves, droughts and pestilence,the world's stockpile of grain is perilously low. Is it a harbinger of 'gastronomical Armageddon?' MARTIN MITTELSTAEDT reports

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Each year around this time, farmers across the breadbaskets of the Northern Hemisphere hop on their tractors and drive out to their fields, full of hope for the new season's grain crop. For the past four years, their efforts haven't been too successful.

It has been an almost unprecedented run of misfortune: four back-to-back meagre harvests, as heat waves, drought and pestilence took their toll -- something that hasn't happened since at least 1960.

As a result, since the turn of the millennium, the amount of grain held in the world's stockpiles has been falling. At the end of the 2003 harvest, the amount of wheat, corn, rice and other grains had fallen to about 280 million tonnes. In 1999, it was more than 500 million.

That seems like a lot of grain because bakers can make about 2,000 loaves for every tonne of wheat milled into flour. But considering that the grain has to support both the world's human population and its billions of livestock, there is precious little to go around.

Measured against consumption, there is enough grain left in the planetary larder to last for only 59 days, one of the lower figures on record. After it is used up, people will go hungry if the next harvest fails.

The string of bad harvests hasn't attracted widespread attention yet, but it has the almost undivided attention of Lester Brown, one of the more thoughtful -- and controversial -- environmentalists in the United States. The founder of the influential Worldwatch Institute, a think tank based in Washington, D.C., believes that the line of bad harvests is no fluke of nature, but rather a harbinger of what one writer has termed "gastronomical Armageddon" -- a chaotic and protracted period of food shortages triggered by the world's environmental plagues, including global warming and water shortages.

Environmentalists have long fretted about such things as clear-cutting, species extinction, rain-forest destruction and melting ice caps. But, as important as these issues may be, Mr. Brown thinks that the biggest flashpoint for environment problems is on the world's farms.

The shrinkage of the food supply will be where environmental degradation will have a huge impact on people, he says. "Rising food prices may be the first global economic indicator to signal serious trouble in the relationship between us and the Earth's natural systems and resources," he says.

Mr. Brown thinks that some sort of food crisis is almost inevitable because the magnitude of the exhaustion of grain stockpiles has been staggering. It's equal to about five years of the entire grain output of Canada, one of the top agricultural exporters.

The harvest shortfalls have become so immense, he says, it would take superlative crops in prime agricultural regions this year and next to even begin to start refilling the larder. "I think the chances of farmers digging their way out of this hole are less than one in 10."

Mr. Brown believes that three main environmental trends are threatening to show up, like an unwelcome guest, at humanity's dinner table: global warming, water shortages in many parts of the world and farmland degradation in China.

He details his case in his latest book, Plan B, Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble.

Not everyone buys Mr. Brown's foreboding projections, of course. He has been criticized, usually by conservatives, for being a modern Malthusian, a reference to 19th-century British economist Thomas Malthus. Malthus believed that humans faced imminent famine about 200 years ago because population growth would outstrip the agricultural capacity of the land. His prediction didn't come to pass -- at least not yet -- because rising agricultural yields have always outpaced population growth.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is optimistic that grain stockpiles can be rebuilt from their current nadir. In a forecast issued last month, the Rome-based FAO said it expects an above-average harvest this year "that could help alleviate the tight global supply situation."

Yet Mr. Brown's ideas are making waves among environmentalists and others.

In the United States, media magnate Ted Turner came upon his new book and thought its worrisome content was so persuasive that he bought more than 3,000 copies for distribution to people he knows. Mr. Brown has been on a busy lecture circuit since the book's publication last year, making the case for imminent food shortages to large audiences.

Global warming could be such a threat to food supplies because of the pernicious impact that searing summer temperatures have on the ability of plants to fertilize their seeds, cutting crop yields. Although it is scary to contemplate, new research shows that it wouldn't take much warming from current summer high temperatures to cause almost complete crop failures.

The research, based on tests in the tropics where hot weather is common, shows that as temperatures rise above 30 degrees when plants flower, the yields of rice, wheat and corn -- the staples of the human diet -- begin to fall. Although it doesn't work exactly the same way for all crops, there is a drop of about 10 per cent in yield for every one-degree increase.

Readings above 30 degrees amount to a hot summer day in most areas of southern Canada, and are experienced only occasionally. But the same could have been said of Europe -- until last year. Much of Europe's grain belt had a sneak preview of what warming can do as temperatures soared above the thermal optimum for plant growth over wide areas.

"Those off-the-chart temperatures in Europe, the ones that took 35,000 lives in nine countries, those temperatures shrunk harvests in every country from France east to Ukraine," Mr. Brown says.

His thinking has also been influenced by a refinement of the temperature research that has been conducted at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. Scientists there have found that the fertilization of rice seeds falls from 100 per cent at 34 degrees to near zero at 40 degrees.

Rising temperatures may be one reason that world grain harvests have either fallen, or stagnated for the past eight years.

After temperatures, water is a second crucial element for successful plant growth.

Many countries, including the United States, India and China, irrigate using groundwater and are pumping unsustainable amounts to quench the thirst of their crops. The result is depleting aquifers, and eventually, an agricultural system that will be short of water when the resource is mined out. In North America, the big worry is over water levels in the once mighty Ogallala aquifer under the U.S. Great Plains, the world's bread basket.

"When you realize that more than half the world's people live in countries where water tables are already falling, you can begin to see how literally explosive this water issue can be," Mr. Brown says.

Droughts have also emerged as a big problem. Canada's Prairies has been exceedingly dry for years. In 2002, high temperatures and lack of rain hit India, the United States and Canada simultaneously. Last year, it was Europe's turn in the rotisserie.

The other big influence on global food supplies has been China, where grain production has been in a steep fall for the past five years. The 2003 harvest was nearly 20 per cent below the 1998 crop, a shortfall of 60 million tonnes, a drop larger than Canada's entire annual grain output.

Mr. Brown attributes the Chinese decline to a number of factors. Productive agricultural land is being lost to factories and roads, for one thing, as the country undergoes its rapid industrialization. He said providing for China's new cars has alone chewed up the same amount of land as 100,000 U.S.-sized football fields.

Another problem is that Chinese deserts are expanding, in part because of overgrazing, further cutting into its agricultural land.

Mr. Brown thinks that the drop in Chinese grain production will soon cause the country to enter world food markets in a big way, driving up prices in much the same way that the Soviets did in the early 1970s when they cornered the U.S. grain supply.

Dire warnings of imminent global food shortages should be welcome news in Canada's long suffering farm belt. Years of battling poor prices, mad cows and rainless skies have cut a swath out of farm incomes. Mr. Brown's messages, as grim as they are for most of us, have a wonderful silver lining for food producers.

Yet here there is deep skepticism. Paul Beingessner, a farmer in Truax, Sask., who also writes an agricultural column for Prairie weekly newspapers, has gone to one of Mr. Brown's lectures. Afterward, he whimsically dubbed the message "gastronomical Armageddon" and developed an alternative explanation for the decline in the world's grain stocks based on what he sees at the farm gate.

Mr. Beingessner thinks that prices for grains have been low for so long that it doesn't really pay to farm any more, or at least it doesn't pay to invest in the expensive fertilizers, efficient irrigation equipment and other items that would boost crop yields.

He believes that the lack of profit in farming is the main factor driving the fall in food output. "What I'm seeing is that as returns shrink from agriculture as they have been literally for two decades, that farmers are unable to produce to the capacity of the land," he says. "I think [Mr. Brown] is wrong in a lot of ways. We are really under-producing."

If farmers were able to earn decent incomes, he says, they would respond in kind by refilling the world's granaries. "You pay farmers and they'll produce an immense amount more," he predicts.

Mr. Brown, for one, remains doubtful that his forecast food calamity can be avoided.

His book recommends that society take evasive action by having farmers begin to use water more judiciously to ration available supplies. He says emissions of carbon must be cut in half by 2015 to forestall the worst projections of global warming and that the world has to quickly rein in its growing human population.

Doing these things, in Mr. Brown's view, would be a big help to avoid the crisis he foresees. "Whether we're politically capable of doing them remains to be seen. In difficult times, you never know if you're going to have a Nero or a Churchill," he says.

Martin Mittelstaedt is The Globe and Mail's environment reporter.

Reserves as a percentage of consumption

Perhaps the clearest indicator, this measure is at a low of 16.2%

1980: 21.4%

1990: 28.9%

2000: 29.3%

2003: 16.2%


Web Links

Global Hydrology and Climate Center -- a collaborative venture between MSFC, the State of Alabama's Space Science and Technology Alliance (SSTA), and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) that uses Earth-watching satellites and computer modeling to better understand the Earth's climate system

NOAA Drought Information Center -- wide variety of up-to-date information about droughts, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Texas Dry Spell: A dry spell even worse than the Dust Bowl by some measures struck Texas during the 1950s. The land was not only dry, but also scorching hot. In Dallas temperatures exceeded 100°F on 52 days in the summer of 1953. Because of widespread crop failures, ranchers didn't have enough hay to feed their cattle. Some of the animals survived, barely, on a diet of prickly pear cactus. [More]

US Drought Monitor -- national drought monitoring by the National Drought Mitigation Center

Seasonal Drought Outlook -- from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center

A Quirky El Nino -- (Science@NASA) The 2002-03 El Niño resisted stereotypes with its unpredictable behavior.

Drought: the creeping disaster -- article on drought from NASA's Earth Observatory

Dry Times in North America -- article on drought from NASA's Earth Observatory

North American Drought: a paleo perspective -- an article about evidence for the historical droughts, from NOAA

U.S. drought visible from space -- press release from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Ocean surface temperature data -- latest data from the NASA/CNES Jason-1 satellite

El Niño theme page -- lots of information about El Niño and La Niña, from NOAA

Source: University Of California - Los Angeles

Date: 2003-07-24

UCLA Study Explores Droughts In Canadian Prairies

Canada's Saskatchewan River system, which recently experienced its worse drought in 134 years, may be prone to more prolonged and severe droughts than previously thought, suggests a new UCLA study based on tree rings that are more than 1,000 years old. If global warming ends up decreasing precipitation and historical precedents repeat themselves, the region could be in far worse shape than policy-makers currently anticipate, warn the authors of the study, which appears in the current issue of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association.

"Past droughts and corresponding declines in river flow have been worse than anything we've seen for the past 100 years, including the recent drought, and this was before man began modifying the climate," said lead author Roslyn A. Case, who conducted the research as a UCLA graduate student but who now works for the Venice, Calif.-based environmental consulting firm of McDaniel Lambert Inc. "Human-induced climate change could make the situation even worse."

The UCLA findings, which represent the first large-scale reconstruction of the river system's flow rates, call into question the wisdom of current approaches to river water management in the basin, which encompasses Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and covers 168,000 square miles, including some of Canada's longest rivers.

"If future water policy and infrastructure development in the Canada prairies continue to take only 20th-century water resources into account, then the region is in for real trouble," said Glen M. MacDonald, co-author and chair of UCLA's geography department. "One reason the current drought seems so severe is the 20th century was one of the wettest periods the region has experienced."

With core samples from old-growth trees in Alberta and Saskatchewan, the researchers pieced together annual water flow over varying periods for the region's three main rivers: 1,113 years for the North Saskatchewan River, 522 years for the South Saskatchewan River and 325 years for the Saskatchewan River.

Among their findings:

* Between 900 and 1300, the North Saskatchewan River experienced 10 decades of the lowest flow in its history; over those 400 years, the average flow of the river was 15 percent lower than the 20th-century average.

* Between 1702 and 1725, river flows on the South Saskatchewan River were almost 20 percent below the 20th-century average.

* Between 1841 and 1859, river flows on the Saskatchewan River were at least 22 percent below the 20th-century average.

* Along the South Saskatchewan River, the early 20th century saw the highest river flows of the segment's 522-year reconstruction.

Tree rings from sites adjacent to Canada's prairies are reliable records of past precipitation and river flows in the area because trees form larger rings during years of high precipitation and form thin rings during years of little precipitation. The patterning persists for the life of the wood.

Case and MacDonald examined samples from 178 trees, the majority of which were living and none of which were damaged by their work.

To ensure the accuracy of their findings, the researchers initially checked their river flow predictions against historical records for river flows in the area.

In addition to recording the amount of precipitation in any given year, tree rings reflect the volume of river water flowing in any given period since rivers serve as the principle destinations for the region's watershed.

About 75 percent of water from the Saskatchewan River system is used for domestic and agricultural purposes, including wheat production. The Saskatchewan River Basin is one of the world's leading producers of wheat.

Debate surrounding future allocations of these waters has been hampered by the fact that government officials did not begin keeping consistent, systematic records of the river system's flow rates until 1912.

"In order to understand what nature can throw our way in terms of drought, we have to look deeper into the past than historical records currently go," MacDonald said. "That view suggests the possibility of some unpleasant surprises."

This story has been adapted from a news release issued by University Of California - Los Angeles.


India Swelters in 124-Degree Heat

Weather: Heat so intense that birds drop dead has killed more than 600 people.

By OMER FAROOQ Associated Press Writer

May 17 2002

HYDERABAD, India -- India baked in a heat wave today so intense that mud huts became as hot as ovens and birds in trees dropped dead, villagers said. This month's heat has killed 638 people nationwide.

Officials described the temperatures exceeding 115 degrees as "a natural calamity."

In Andhra Pradesh state, 622 people died. Temperatures there reached a record 124 degrees, said D.C. Roshaiah, an official in charge of relief work in the state.

Most of the dead were old people unable to bear the extreme heat, said Rajshekhar Murthy, a health worker in the state's Guntur district, where 102 people died.

P. Vijaylakshmi, a farmer in Kovvuru village in a remote corner of Andhra Pradesh, described the height of the heat wave last Friday as "the worst day of my life."

"How I can forget it? There was no place to hide. Even the dirt floor of my hut felt like an oven," he said.

Villagers said the heat was so intense that birds fell from the trees. 

Similar heat waves struck Andhra Pradesh in 1996 and 1998, but this year has been the worst, state weather officials said. Andrha Pradesh is the fifth-largest state in India, with 76 million people.

Murthy, the health worker, said the number of dead would have been higher had local officials not issued warnings and supplied extra drinking water to the poor.

"The administration sounded a warning a week in advance," said Poonam Malkondaiah, an official in West Godavari district, where at least 50 people perished.

"People were told not to venture out of their homes, especially around noon when the heat wave reaches its peak. If there were compelling reasons to go out, they were asked to cover themselves," she said.

It has been an abnormally hot May in southern India. Temperatures have been 7 percent above the monthly average. 

The national capital New Delhi and other parts of northern India have also been sweltering. Sixteen people died in the desert state of Rajasthan as temperatures climbed to 117 on Friday.

Andhra Pradesh's Chief Minister Chandra Babu Naidu set up a scientific committee to establish whether global warming was causing the heat wave.

However, meteorologists quickly blamed scorching desert winds from the northwest, not the greenhouse effect or deforestation.

"Heat waves always precede the monsoon rains. They induce the moisture to come in," said R. Rajamani, an environmental expert based in Hyderabad. Monsoons normally arrive in southern India in early June, and in the rest of the country over subsequent weeks.
State environmental officials last week eased a ban on lawn watering in the southwestern, northwestern and south coastal regions of the state. Residents may water two days each week (the days depend on whether a home's address ends in an odd or even number), and in some central and coastal counties, residents may water three days a week. The new policy will be reviewed by the state on June 28. Lawn watering is still prohibited in Passaic, Bergen, Hudson and Essex Counties and in part of Morris County. The Department of Environmental Protection commissioner, Bradley M. Campbell, said the state would need 18 to 26 inches of rainfall in the next few months to reverse
the drought. The state has opened a Web site, www.njdrought.org, with information about rules and drought status. Jeremy Pearce
Changes In Sun's Intensity Tied To Recurrent Droughts In Maya Region
by Aaron Hoover
Gainesville - May 17, 2001
The Maya were talented astronomers, religiously intense in their observations of the sun, moon and planets. Now, new research shows something in the heavens may have influenced their culture and ultimately helped bring about their demise.

In an article set to appear in Friday's issue of the journal Science, a team of researchers led by a University of Florida geologist reports finding that the Yucatan Peninsula, seat of the ancient Maya civilization, was buffeted by recurrent droughts.

More importantly, the research shows, the droughts -- one of which is thought to have contributed to the collapse of the Maya civilization -- appear to have been caused by a cyclical brightening of the sun.

"It looks like changes in the sun's energy output are having a direct effect on the climate of the Yucatan and causing the recurrence of drought, which is in turn influencing the Maya evolution," said David Hodell, a UF professor of geology and the paper's lead author.

In 1995, Hodell and two colleagues at UF published results in the journal Nature suggesting that the ninth-century collapse of the Maya civilization may have been influenced by a severe drought that lasted for more than 150 years.

The paper, co-authored by Mark Brenner, a UF assistant professor of geology and director of UF's Land Use and Environmental Change Institute, and Jason Curtis, a UF geology researcher, was based on analysis of a sediment "core" from Lake Chichancanab on the north central Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

Cores are samples of lake sediment retrieved by driving a hollow tube into the lake bottom. The sediments are deposited layer by layer, like a wedding cake, with the oldest layer at the bottom. Such cores provide a timeline that allows researchers to obtain a continuous record of changes in climate, vegetation and land use.

For the latest research, Hodell, Brenner and Curtis returned to the lake and collected a new series of cores. The researchers discovered layers of calcium sulfate, or gypsum, concentrated at certain levels in the cores. Lake Chichancanab's water is nearly saturated with gypsum.

During dry periods, lake water evaporates and the gypsum falls to the lake bottom. The layers therefore represent drought episodes. The researchers found the recurrence of the deposits is remarkably cyclical, occurring every 208 years, although they varied in intensity.

The 208-year cycle caught the researchers' attention because it is nearly identical to a known 206-year cycle in solar intensity, Hodell said. As part of that cycle, the sun is most intense every 206 years, something that can be tracked through measuring the production of certain radioactive substances such as carbon-14. The researchers found the drought episodes occurred during the most intense part of the sun's cycle.

Not only that, the researchers found the droughts occurred at times when archeological evidence reflects downturns in the Maya culture, including the 900 A.D. collapse. Such evidence includes abandonment of cities or slowing of building and carving activity.

As Hodell said, the energy received by the Earth at the peak of the solar cycle increases less than one-tenth of 1 percent, so it's likely that some mechanism in the climate is amplifying the impact in the Yucatan.

Archaeologists know the Maya were capable of precisely measuring the movements of the sun, moon and planets, including Venus. Hodell said he is unaware, however, of any evidence the Maya knew about the bicentenary cycle that ultimately may have played a role in their downfall. "It's ironic that a culture so obsessed with keeping track of celestial movements may have met their demise because of a 206-year cycle," he said.

The cycle continues to the present, which happens to fall into about the middle of the 206-year period, Hodell said. Even a severe drought today, however, isn't likely to have the same impact on the culture as in ancient times. Brenner noted North Korea currently is suffering an extreme drought, but the country has the benefit of international aid.

"Nobody stepped in to help the Maya out," he said, "and as conditions worsened, it probably created a lot of stress among various Maya cities competing for resources."

Thomas Guilderson, of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, assisted the UF scientists in the research, which was funded by the National Science Foundation Paleoclimate Program. The cores were collected for a BBC program on climate and Maya culture collapse.


Extreme Weather Impacting Society More
 Washington - October 8, 2000
As our climate changes, extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, heat waves, heavy rainfall, tropical storms and hurricanes are expected to increase, says a team of scientists, led by David Easterling of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center after reviewing hundreds of studies that used data and climate models to examine past and future changes in climate extremes.

Relentless Heat in Phoenix Kills 18

By BETH DeFALCO, Associated Press Writer 2 hours, 37 minutes ago

PHOENIX - A record heat wave has led to the deaths of 18 people, most of them homeless, leaving officials scrambling to provide water and shelter to the city's transient population.

For the first time in years, homeless shelters opened their doors during the day to offer respite from the blistering sun, which has delivered above-average temperatures every day since June 29. Police began passing out thousands of water bottles donated by grocery stores, and city officials set up tents for shade downtown.

"I don't know why I'm not burnt to pieces," said Chris Cruse, 48, after taking refuge in a shelter.

Four more bodies were found Wednesday. Fourteen of the victims were thought to be homeless. Authorities did not know if a man found by the side of a road Sunday had a permanent residence.

The other three victims were elderly women, including one whose home cooling system was not on, police said.

"Most of us just run from air-conditioned box to air-conditioned box, so it's hard to imagine how omnipresent the heat really is for the homeless here," said Phoenix police Sgt. Randy Force.

In all of last year, the state Department of Health Services documented 34 heat-related deaths among Arizona residents. The number of illegal immigrants killed by heat-related illnesses while trying to cross the desert are counted separately.

The first deaths were reported Saturday. By Wednesday, the high still climbed to 109 degrees. Even during the coolest part of the day, the mercury has failed to descend lower than 89 degrees.

David Waing, a former truck driver who's been living on the streets of Phoenix for the past year, said he's been staying close to water by sleeping near one of the city's irrigation canals.

"In the mornings, about 9 or 10 o'clock, when it starts getting really hot, we just jump in and take a swim," he said. "The nights aren't much better. When the wind does blow, it feels like a blast furnace."

Both he and Cruse spent Wednesday at the Phoenix Rescue Mission watching movies in the shelter's chapel, which was opened Monday to anyone needing a break from the heat.

The shelter was also turning on hoses so transients could wet their clothes and had ordered 300 neckerchiefs that can be dipped in water and tied around the neck, said Bob Reed, a shelter manager.

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said his office was asking Congress to provide utility assistance for soaring cooling bills the same way it provides for heating bills in Eastern states.

"Fair is fair. There are too many individuals dying of heat here," Gordon said.

Maricopa County, including Phoenix and its suburbs, has a homeless population between 10,000 and 12,000 people, said Gloria Hurtado, the city's human service director.

Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, high temperatures dipped below the 115-degree mark Wednesday for the first time in five days. Authorities were investigating six deaths since July 14 to see if they were heat-related.


 Fruit growers lamenting 'apple stew'
  By Martin Cassidy
  BBC Northern Ireland rural affairs correspondent
Fruit growers in County Armagh are counting the cost of a heat wave which has left many apples cooked on the trees.

  Orchard owners have been left wondering whether the stewed fruit was the result of a freak weather pattern or points to climate change.

The heat-wave in the orchards began on 10 July and over the next few days growers say there was barely a breath of wind to help cool the fruit.

It was a "dead heat", says Graham Hewitt - who hasn't seen anything like it in 25 years of producing the famous bramley apple.

"At 32 degrees, the apple which was most exposed, just literally cooked, it was just coddled on the tree," he said.

Walking down the rows of heavily laden trees, Graham points to the damaged fruit on the south west canopy of each tree which took the brunt of the piercing rays of sunlight.

The damage is all too clear to see with the fragile apple skins burned brown.

It is clear that in many places the fruit melted under the intense heat.

 Graham plucks one of the apples and breaks the fruit open to reveal how the cooking process had penetrated right to the core of the apple.

"This is a totally new phenomenon in Armagh, this was a totally freak weekend of weather, but you always have it in the back of your mind is global warming going to pose more of a problem when it comes to growing a crop?"

The loss of up to 15% of the crop is a particular concern for growers as they are currently negotiating contracts for the sale of this year's apple harvest.

The Fruit Growers' Association though has been quick to stress that there will be no shortage of bramleys.

Back in the orchards the damaged fruit is already beginning to fall from the trees and Graham Hewitt says that with 10 to 12 weeks of growing left, nature will compensate by making the remaining apples larger.

Back in the orchards the damaged fruit is already beginning to fall from the trees and Graham Hewitt says that with 10 to 12 weeks of growing left, nature will compensate by making the remaining apples larger.


 World faces massive increase in CO2 emissions as population grows

TOURS, France (AFP) Jul 19, 2005
The world faces a massive increase in carbon dioxide emissions, which fuel global warming, due to population growth, poor countries getting richer and the failure of wealthy countries to reduce greenhouse gases, a world population conference heard here Tuesday.

"We're on a toboggan and we've gone over the edge," Tim Dyson, professor of population studies at the London School of Economics, told the gathering.

"It (global warming) will screw everyone up, no matter where you are," he said at the start of the four-day conference of 2,000 demographers, economists, geographers and sociologists from 110 countries.

Scientists predict global warming, caused mainly by increasing carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of coal, oil and petrol in motor vehicles and power stations, will increase the frequency and severity of droughts, flooding and storms, threatening global agricultural production.

The world scientific authority on global warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), predicted in its 2001 report that rising levels of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide will increase temperatures by between 1.4 degrees and 5.8 degrees Celsius (35 and 42 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century and sea levels by between 9 and 88 centimetres (3.5 and 35 inches).

The IPCC, set to produce its next report in 2007, is likely to "increase its temperature estimates by 0.2 degrees (Celsius) at both the low and high end," Tim Dyson told the conference in this central French city.

He said that if per capita CO2 emissions remained at their 2000 levels, which he said was unikely, population increases would raise world emissions by 27 percent to 29.6 billion tons over the next 50 years.

World population is expected to reach nine billion in the next fifty years from 6.5 billion today.

Even a 40 percent reduction in per capita emissions in the developed world would be outweighed solely by the effects of demographic growth elsewhere in the world, Dyson said.

At the top end scenario, where emissions in the developing world double but remain constant in the industrialised countries, the increase in CO2 emissions would be 90 percent above 2000 levels by 2050.

Developed countries have so far been unable to reduce emissions, even in Europe where population is expected to fall in the next fifty years.

The United States, responsible for 25 percent of the worlds CO2 emissions, has refused to ratify the only international agreement to cut greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, the Kyoto protocol, which came into force this year and commits industrialised nations to cut emissions to 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

Even those countries which have ratified the Kyoto protocol appear unlikely to meet its modest goals, Dyson said. Between 1990 and 2002 Canadas CO2 emissions rose by 22 percent and Japan by 13 percent while those of the EU emissions have risen by 3.4 percent.

The worlds poor response so far to global warming was similar to that for other long-term threats such as HIV/AIDS with the early development of a scientific consensus followed by "avoidance, denial and recrimination" with little behavioural change, said Dyson.

Immigration to rich countries is also likely to a "significant role" in CO2 emissions growth.

The United States and Canada currently have the worlds highest average per capita CO2 emissions at 19.9 tons per year, 20 times more than for sub-Saharan Africa, and are expected to increase their population by 132 million during the next 50 years, due largely to immigration.

Economic development in poor countries will also increase emissions. Between 1990-99 emissions in North Africa and West Asia rose by 19.7 percent and South America 22.5 percent.

Population growth is also likely to put more people at greater risk from climate change.

"The continuing process of urbanisation will mean that extremely large numbers of people, probably several billion, will be living in low-lying, densely populated coastal areas of the developing world, and their situation is likely to be particularly exposed," Dyson told the conference.

"Flooding of coastal areas, which might result partly from sea level rise and partly from increase rainfall, could lead to the simultaneous loss of cropland and urban infrastructure, producing food price rises, large scale migration and possibly significant socio-political disruption," the professor said.

Before the industrial revolution in the 18th century, the CO2 level in the atmosphere was steady at around 280 parts per million.

When the Kyoto protocol was drawn up in 1997, the CO2 level had reached at 368 parts per million (ppm). In 2004, it hit 379 ppm.

Most predictions of increasing temperatures, floods, droughts, storms and rising sea levels are based on a concentration of 550 ppm. On current trends, this figure, is likely to be reached in the second half of this century.

All rights reserved. © 2005

Record Temperatures Grip Many Cities

By JOHN M. BRODER, The New York Times

-PHOENIX (July 22, 2005) - A relentless and lethal blanket of heat has settled on much of the western United States, forcing the cancellation of dozens of airline flights, threatening the loss of electrical power, stoking wildfires and leaving 20 people dead in Phoenix alone in just the past week.

Fourteen of the victims here are thought to have been homeless, although the heat also claimed the life of a 97-year-old man who died in his bedroom, a 37-year-old man who succumbed in his car and two older women who died in homes without air-conditioning.

Daytime highs in Phoenix have remained near 110 degrees for more than a week, and municipal officials acknowledge that it is almost impossible to deal with the needs of the estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people living on the streets. The city has barely 1,000 shelter beds, and hundreds of them are available only in the winter.

The lack of preparation for the homeless here is obvious to those sweltering on the sidewalk outside the Society of St. Vincent de Paul relief center in a zone of desolation between the office towers of downtown Phoenix and the State Capitol.

"I'm dying out here," said a homeless man in his 40's who goes by the name of Romeo, crouched in a sliver of shade on a littered sidewalk while waiting for a handout meal and a bottle of water. "The police are making us move all over the place. Where do they expect us to go? They need some more shelters."

The Phoenix police and private social service agencies have been passing out thousands of bottles of water donated by grocery chains and individuals. But the fierce heat continues to take a toll.

"We've not seen anything like this before," said Tony Morales, a Phoenix police detective. "We get heat-related deaths every summer, usually 5 to 10 deaths through the whole summer, but nothing like this."

In Maricopa County as a whole, which includes Phoenix and its suburbs, 21 people died of heat exposure all of last year, just one more than the city's toll in the last several days.

Officials of the National Weather Service estimate that more than 200 heat records have been broken in the West during the last two weeks. On Tuesday, Las Vegas tied its record for any date, 117 degrees. Reno and other locations in Nevada have set records with nine consecutive days of temperatures at 100 or higher. The temperature in Denver on Wednesday reached 105 degrees, making it the hottest day there since 1878. The highest temperature for the entire region during the heat wave has been 129, recorded at Death Valley, Calif.

The weather forced airlines to cancel more than two dozen flights this week, remove passengers from fully loaded planes, limit the number of tickets sold on some flights and take other measures to withstand the heat.

The reasons for that are related to engineering. Aircraft manufacturers have customarily set temperature limits at which their planes can be safely operated. (The limits are lower at higher altitudes, as in the Rocky Mountains, and higher at lower altitudes, as in the desert that surrounds Las Vegas.) High temperatures mean aircraft engines must take in more air in order to create the greater thrust the planes need to leave the ground. But airplane makers also have limits on the amount of thrust that an engine can produce. If the engines exceed those limits, they may not perform properly. At that point, aircraft manufacturers advise, the airlines should remove weight from planes - either passengers or cargo - or, in the worst cases, not fly at all.

United Airlines canceled seven United Express flights out of Denver on Wednesday, when the record-tying temperature there exceeded the operating limit for the carrier's propeller planes, said a spokesman, Jeff Green. "It was just so extreme, and stayed on so long, that we had to cancel flights," Mr. Green said.

America West canceled 22 flights out of its Las Vegas hub this week, 11 each on Monday and Tuesday. The temperature of 117 there was approaching the limit for America West's regional jets: 117.26, above which they should not fly, said Linda Larsen, a spokeswoman for Mesa Airlines, which operates the flights for America West.

On the other hand, Southwest Airlines, one of the biggest carriers operating in Las Vegas and Phoenix, has not canceled any flights because of the heat, a spokesman said. And Frontier Airlines merely refused to fly any pets.

The extraordinary heat has lasted for many weeks in the Southwestern desert, where it has exacted a high price in lives along the Mexican border. Officials of the United States Bureau of Customs and Border Protection say 101 illegal migrants have died of heat so far this fiscal year, which runs from October through September. That compares with 95 heat-related deaths in all of the previous 12 months.

Twenty-one border crossers have died in Arizona just since July 1, said Salvador Zamora, a spokesman for the border agency. The agency has stepped up its efforts to rescue migrants from the heat, using trucks and helicopters to aid people in distress in the brutal sun.

Here in Phoenix, where the issue of rescue involves the homeless, Moises Gallegos, the city's deputy director of community services, said that space was available in downtown shelters but that some of the homeless refused to use it. Some are drug or alcohol abusers who do not want to be tested and treated, a condition for entry, and others are mentally ill and refuse all offers of help, Mr. Gallegos said.

But some private social service agencies contend that there is a critical lack of shelter space here, and criticize officials for not opening a 500-bed city-owned homeless shelter that is used only in the winter.

"We need a year-round overflow shelter," said Terry Bower, director of the Human Services Campus Day Resource Center.

Elsewhere in Arizona, firefighters are struggling to contain a swarm of 20 wildfires around the state, most sparked by lightning, including a 60,000-acre blaze northeast of Phoenix that shut several major highways. Across the West as a whole, 32 large wildfires are burning, fueled by the heat, dry conditions and a profusion of brush created by the winter's heavy rains, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

And in California, the state's Independent System Operator, which handles the flow of power to three-quarters of California customers, declared a Stage 2 emergency on Thursday and Friday, the first in two years. Stage 2 means that utilities are within 5 percent of their maximum production of electricity and that interruption of power to some customers is possible.

Stephanie McCorkle, a spokeswoman for the Independent System Operator, said the emergency was in effect for Southern California and asked residents to conserve electricity. Ms. McCorkle said the system had experienced 14 consecutive days in which demand in Southern California was near capacity.

"The Bay Area is not hot, and that has been our saving grace," she said. "L.A. is sizzling."

Craig Schmidt, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's regional headquarters in Salt Lake City, said records had been falling across the Western states since the heat wave started on July 12.

In Phoenix, it was at least 110 every day from July 11 to 19; on Friday the temperature peaked at 108.

There may be some relief in sight, though: monsoons are moving into the area. The rain and cloud cover will cool things down a bit, officials said, but humidity will rise, prolonging the misery.

"Throughout the Western states - you have to estimate, but more than 200 records have probably been broken, and that's just talking daily records," Mr. Schmidt said. "These records are no fun to break."

Among the most remarkable was the one in Las Vegas, where the 117-degree reading on Tuesday matched the record for any date, set in 1942. The 95-degree low on Tuesday was also a record for Las Vegas, as was the average temperature that day, 104 degrees.

In Death Valley, meanwhile, the temperature never dropped below 100 degrees in two 24-hour periods.

Mr. Schmidt attributes the heat to a high pressure system that refused to budge.

"This one went on for so long, because there's a very strong ridge of high pressure centered over Utah and Arizona," he said, "and it kept the monsoon moisture from working its way northward. That usually cools things off with thunderstorms and clouds."

Andy Bailey, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Las Vegas, said: "It's probably fair to say what just wrapped up was probably the most intense heat wave the city's ever seen. We had a string of four days where it was 115 or above."

Now, however, the region is facing a new threat from the expected summer monsoons and thunderstorms, Mr. Bailey said.

"We're concerned with flash flooding today and tomorrow," he said.

Micheline Maynard contributed reporting from New York for this article, Katie Zezima from Boston and John Dougherty from Phoenix

Firefighters battle 8 Oregon wildfires

01:24 PM PDT on Sunday, July 31, 2005

By kgw.com and AP Staff

Firefighters battled eight wildfires Sunday burning in eastern and southwestern Oregon.

The largest was the Double Mountain fire south of Vale which stretched over 34 square miles. By Sunday, it had burned some 24,000 acres and was still threatening three homes and three outbuildings.

AP photo = Members of the Bureau of Land Management fire crew fight the Double Mountain fire near Vale, Ore.

But the fire was 75 percent contained and officials were hoping to have it fully contained by Sunday evening.

About 130 firefighters and aircraft stopped the blaze from spreading north to Vale.

"We have military tankers from Boise and our own planes, plus aircraft from Burns working the fire," BLM spokesman Randy Hyde said.

The fire was burning between Vale and the town of Harper to the west. As of Saturday evening, and there had been no evacuations although U.S. 20 was closed for about three hours.

Malheur County Sheriff Andy Bentz said people in the path of the fire were notified.

"All things considered, things went well. You cannot make people leave their property, only advise them. The wind change caused us some concern," he said.

The lightening-caused fire began early Friday and has burned mostly BLM and private land.

Lightning storms moved through the area again Saturday night, but Hyde did not believe it caused any additional blazes.

Other range fires burning in southeastern Oregon included the Farewell Bend fire, which had been contained at 3,800 acres and crews were mopping up on Saturday.

The Skull Springs fire 35 miles from Haynes Junction was at 600 acres and growing on Saturday.

In the Old Fort Road area north of Klamath Falls, the Simpson fire had grown to about 2,100 acres Saturday of brush, timber and grass -- with no immediate prediction for containment.

The 500 firefighters battling it expected to see it grow to 4,500 acres before having a shot at containing it in about a week, said Oregon Department of Forestry spokeswoman Anne Maloney.

The fire had moved away from two homes threatened at the start. The cause remained unknown.

Jeree Mills, a spokeswoman for the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center in Portland said that a far smaller fire burning in eastern Oregon -- the Dry Cabin Fire -- could also turn out to be a much bigger headache, depending on the wind.

The fire burning near Dayville had only burned some 270 acres. But it was located in an area of what Mills called "nasty, dense forest" without road access. That would make relief efforts difficult.

In southwestern Oregon, the Blossom Complex fire had grown to nearly 1,000 acres near Paradise Bar. It was threatening 16 structures along the Rogue River near Gold Beach, including several vacation homes.

The Wild Rogue River Wilderness area is popular with whitewater rafters. Rafters have had to occasionally hold up to allow helicopters to dip buckets of water from the river, said fire information officer Minty Sherrieb.

The Huggins and Solitude fires were burning on ridges less than a mile from the south side of the river. The Huggins fire was being mopped up.

The complex of fires started a week ago from lighting strikes.

And the Wasson fire, east of Eagle Point, had burned 1,500 acres. It was threatening 20 structures and was said to be over 50-percent contained. The fire started Tuesday when a truck overturned on U.S. Highway 140 about 16 miles northeast of Medford.

A fire break was burned around the Oregon Tiger Sanctuary, an 80-acre compound that is home to lions, tigers, and snow leopards that had been threatened.


AP photo - An air tanker drops retardant on a ridge 
in the Wasson Fire near Lake Creek, Ore.

2 of Oregon's major wildfires now contained

11:46 AM PDT on Monday, August 1, 2005

By kgw.com and AP Staff

Two of Oregon's larger wildfires were contained overnight but more than 4,000 lightning hits in 24 hours started about 40 other blazes, firefighting officials said Monday.

Jeree Mills of the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center said the Wasson fire near Eagle Point was contained at 1,510 acres Sunday night and that the Double Mountain fire west of Vale in Malheur County was contained at 22,095 acres.

Higher humidity on Sunday and rain helped firefighters gain ground on many of the fires. Mills said storms brought as much as a half inch of rain in some areas. However, the storms also brought with them plenty of lightning.

Of the 40 new fire starts, Mills said, only about four have the potential for growth.

Elsewhere, the lightning-caused Blossom complex of fires, in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, had burned more than 1,000 acres as of Sunday night, all of it within protected wilderness.

More than 550 people were fighting the blaze with the help of seven helicopters that were taking water from the Rogue River to douse the flames, said Tom Lavagnino, a Forest Service spokesman. No buildings were in immediate danger.

Damp tinder from heavy spring rains kept flames from leaping into the treetops and fueling a rapid spread, Lavagnino said.

Near Klamath Falls, crews completed a fire line around the 10-mile perimeter of the 2,283-acre Simpson Fire. Flare-ups tested the fire line Sunday, but fire crews aided by a half-dozen helicopters held the flames in check and reinforced the lines.

The Dry Cabin Fire posed some of the toughest challenges, burning in dense timber in a remote forest area about 20 miles north of Burns Junction. Mills said the Dry Cabin fire was 30 percent contained at 1,600 acres in grass and brush. The Skull Springs fire 22 miles north of that was contained at about 600 acres.

The Mule Peak Fire, burning in rugged country 20 miles southeast of La Grande, had grown to over 800 acres Monday. The Burnt River complex fires also continued burning in Eastern Oregon.

Firefighters expect to gain control of southern Nevada wildfires

Aug 4, 2005, 08:08 AM

Firefighters in southern Nevada are hoping to gain control this evening of a large wildfire burning in the Desert National Wildlife Refuge.

The Vegas Fire has burned approximately 4,200 acres.

Officials say fire activity has greatly diminished and they expect to gain control if conditions remain the same.

Authorities expected to have two small fires burning in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area contained Tuesday.

The Love Fire has burned approximately thirty acres; the Wall Fire about three acres.

Mormon Well Road in the Desert National Wildlife Refuge is expected to reopen Wednesday. The road has been closed from Highway 95 to Highway 93.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Hawaii Wildfires Nearly Contained

WAIKOLOA, Hawaii, Aug. 4, 2005

(AP) Nearly 5,000 people ordered to flee their homes because of a huge brush fire on Hawaii's Big Island were allowed to return Wednesday, finding their property dusted with a layer of ash but otherwise undamaged.

In spite of authorities' reopening the area, Waikoloa Village appeared all but abandoned as National Guard helicopters joined local firefighters in trying to contain the massive blaze in its third day.

"This is like a ghost town today," said Kris Kosa-Correia, principal of Waikoloa Elementary School, where scores of evacuees found temporary refuge.

The principal checked on her residence Wednesday morning to find the fire had scorched undergrowth up to 20 feet from her door and left ash inside the condominium.

Fire crews continued trying to contain the blaze, which had charred more than 25,000 acres along the Kohala Coast on the west side of the island.

The evacuation order had affected 75 percent of the town's 6,500 residents, said Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency acting administrator Lanny Nakano. Officials turned a community center and elementary school into evacuation centers, a resort opened its ballroom to evacuees and another school offered dorm rooms.

The blaze started Monday as a small brush fire.

Elsewhere on the island, another fire jumped Akoni Pule Highway and had burned more than 2,000 acres, including a two-square-mile tract on one side of the road, and down toward the ocean on the other.

County officials used bulldozers, helicopters and ground crews to contain the flames. One house had been threatened, but firefighters were able to cut a fire break around it, Fire Chief Darryl Oliviera said.

On the mainland, officials in Washington state said residents of about 75 homes who had evacuated Monday when a wildfire closed in were allowed to return home Wednesday.

However, the returnees and residents of 70 other homes were under notice that they might have to evacuate again in the area near Lake Wenatchee in central Washington. The blaze had charred nearly 1,000 acres and was only 20 percent contained.

Large fires also were active Wednesday in Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Utah, the National Interagency Fire Center reported. So far this year, wildfires have charred 4.7 million acres, compared with 5.5 million at the same time last year, the center said.

©MMV, The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. 

Idaho wildfires keep crews busy

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Wildfires burning in southwestern and central Idaho scorched thousands of acres of grass, sage and pine, as near 100-degree heat helped the flames spread over the weekend.

Still, officials said hundreds of firefighters had made significant progress in containing the blazes.

The National Fire Information Center in Boise reported Monday that just two large fires -- the 2-square-mile Falls Creek on the Salmon-Challis National Forest and the 29-square-mile Snake One fire near Weiser at the Oregon border -- were burning in the state.

So far, Idaho's fire season has been relatively mild. While lightning-caused blazes have torched more than 350 square miles, including the 312-square-mile Clover Fire in late July on federal Bureau of Land Management territory south of Twin Falls, firefighters say they've gotten off relatively easy compared to past years.

"On the Salmon-Challis National Forest, our fire season has been great," said Gail Baer, a Forest Service spokeswoman. "We haven't had the number of fires we've had in the past to date.

"But even though we haven't had as many fires, our big fire season is really coming up," Baer added, pointing to five small lightning-caused fires ignited on her territory over the weekend, the largest of which was 3.5 acres. "We're not out of the woods yet."

About 60 percent of the Falls Creek fire, burning in steep terrain near the Lemhi Range 25 northeast of Challis, had been contained as of Monday by 82 firefighters. They expect to have the blaze under control later this week, Baer said, adding the flames were helping burn off excess fuels in the area.

Some 200 miles to the west, 550 firefighters had contained 40 percent of the Snake One fire that singed sage, grass and pockets of timber in the rugged Snake River Canyon about 21 miles northwest of the small town of Weiser, near the border with Oregon.

The Snake One fire has cost about $700,000 to combat so far, as crews have deployed 6 helicopters, 15 engines and 4 bulldozers to build fire lines. Officials say two homes, a lodge and six outbuildings were threatened.

Still, "significant progress was made on the south and west sides of the fire," said Dorothy Harvey, a spokeswoman for the Payette National Forest.


Wildfires Rage Out of Control in Montana

The Associated Press
Saturday, August 6, 2005; 12:35 AM

ALBERTON, Mont. -- A series of wildfires burned out of control late Friday along a major highway in western Montana, prompting authorities to establish roadblocks to keep motorists from getting caught in the billowing smoke.

Flames along Interstate 90 burned right to the edge of the town of Alberton and sometimes into yards. One building was destroyed.

A 90-mile span of the highway had been closed Thursday from just west of Missoula to St. Regis, just east of the Montana-Idaho border. The eastbound lanes were reopened late Friday.

Officials credited quick action by fire crews with saving dozens of houses in this community of 400 people about 28 miles west of Missoula.

Sharon Sweeney, a spokeswoman with the Lolo National Forest, said firefighters were able to save all but the one building, a shop containing vintage cars, tools and antiques.

Outside town, firefighters were digging a line to protect about 10 houses that were still threatened near West Mountain, which was aflame on both its east and west flanks.

State officials closed 20 miles of the Clark Fork River to public use because helicopters with 500-gallon buckets were scooping water from the river to help fight the fires.

Authorities were investigating what started the flames, but said arson or possibly a vehicle dragging something that emitted sparks were both possible causes.

"This absolutely wasn't an act of God," said fire spokesman Scott Waldron.

Also in Montana, a fire in the Bitterroot Valley south of Missoula expanded Friday to at least 1,400 acres. The blaze was being allowed to burn, but firefighters may have to be assigned if it moves out of the wilderness into nearby public forest lands.

Large fires also were active Friday in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington, the National Interagency Fire Center reported. So far this year, wildfires have charred 4.9 million acres, compared with 5.5 million at the same time last year, the center said.


Portuguese wildfires rage in 40-degree heat amid worst drought for 60 yrs
08.05.2005, 10:21 AM

LISBON (AFX) - More than 3,000 firefighters are battling 18 major blazes raging across Portugal as temperatures soar above 40 degrees amid the country's worst drought since at least 1945.

Hundreds of firefighters worked throughout the night and are beginning to show signs of fatigue, local officials said.

They are backed by over 700 vehicles and 16 water-dropping aircraft, the civil protection agency said.

Thick smoke from the wildfires can be seen on satellite images and is hindering the use of more aircraft, it added.

The wildfires come as many parts of Portugal have recorded their hottest temperatures so far this year.

With temperatures expected to stay near or above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) until at least Wednesday throughout much of the country, Interior Minister Antonio Costa warned the fire situation could worsen.

'We are facing very difficult moments which will probably last over the coming days since weather conditions will remain adverse,' he told reporters.

'Instead of dramatizing the risks we face over the coming days, we need to take steps to mobilize to confront them victoriously,' he added.

Firefighters asked rural homeowners to clear areas of 50 metres (165 feet) around their houses to keep fires from reaching them.

The wildfires have already destroyed homes, farmhouses, tractors, cars and a door factory, local media reported.

Four fires were raging out of control near the central port town of Aveiro, including one which led police to close a 15 kilometre (nine mile) stretch of the A1 motorway linking Lisbon to the second city Porto for three hours.

Wildfires have destroyed more than 68,000 hectares (168,000 acres) of forest and brush since the beginning of the year, while six firefighters have died battling the flames.


Copyright AFX News Limited 2005. All rights reserved.
Wildfires blaze dangerously close to Leeward Oahu homes

Firefighters are still on the fire lines struggling to put out a huge blaze that has scorched a massive area of the Leeward side today.  The large brushfire came dangerously close to homes in Honokai Hale. 

At one point, there were 40-50 foot flames behind the old sugar cane pipe.  That is probably about 12-15 feet from homes.  Homeowners were left battling the blaze with their water hoses.

But it still wasn't enough.  The brushfire blackened at least 400 acres and stretched from the Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park to Honokai Hale. 

No homes were damaged. 

Fire crews will work through the night to try to contain this fire.  The cause is still under investigation.

MALAYSIA, which is blanketed in haze from hundreds of ground fires in Indonesia, has offered to help tackle the blazes during crisis talks.

Almost 1,000 forest fires and blazes started to clear land on the Indonesian island of Sumatra are blamed for the smog that has cloaked peninsular Malaysia for more than a week, disrupting airports and shipping, angering residents and raising fears over public health.

Malaysia declared a state of emergency in some areas as the air pollution index soared.

Malaysian Environment Minister Adenan Satem offered assistance during a meeting with Indonesian Forestry Minister Malam Sambat Kaban in Sumatra.

"The meeting was cordial ... the Malaysian side offered help to deal with the fires," forestry ministry spokesman Fauzi Masud said.

Mr Masud said the two sides agreed to cooperate on preventing people using fire to clear land and to carry out cloud-seeding to induce rain.

"We are offering assistance on three aspects," Mr Adenan said.

He said Malaysia was offering to help extinguish the fires, carry out cloud-seeding and draw up a long-term programme to prevent a recurrence.

Anger is mounting in Malaysia over the fires, an annual event this time of year as farmers use the dry season to burn forest and clear land.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said ministers from the two neighbours would also meet in Jakarta today to discuss coping with the haze and avoiding any longer-term political crisis.

"We must sit down and discuss and consult. This is the common interest," he said. "We cannot go into an open conflict. That will not be good for the region."

But Malaysia's opposition leader Lim Kit Siang said Indonesia must take action and douse the fires amid reports that the smog could continue for weeks.

"Malaysians want an explanation why the Indonesian government cannot stop the haze from becoming a tragic annual event," he said. "As the source of haze is in Sumatra, Malaysians are powerless to do anything."

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called for "more serious" measures to tackle the fires.

"The president expressed his dissatisfaction over measures in handling the fires .. and he wished to see that forest fires are being handled more seriously," his spokesman Dino Pati Jalal said, according to the Antara news agency.

Indonesian officials said hundreds of rangers had been deployed but were being hampered by the remote locations of the fires and a lack of water.

Satellite images taken on Wednesday showed 993 fires in Riau and North Sumatra provinces on Sumatra, said Israr Albar, a forestry ministry official in charge of forest fires.

"More than 60 percent of hot spots were caused by land-clearing by farmers and they are not in the forests," Mr Albar said.

With visibility in places down to 200 metres or less, Kuala Lumpur's second airport was closed until further notice while the Malacca Strait, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, has become hazardous.

Hundreds of schools in Kuala Lumpur and surrounding districts were ordered to close until Monday because of the worsening haze, which is causing a rise in asthma attacks and respiratory conditions.


December 10, 2005

Australia's greatest river is running dry because of a prolonged drought that has exacerbated the problems caused by farmers taking too much water to irrigate unsuitable crops. 

Scientists fear that years of below-average rainfall in south-east Australia is turning the once mighty Murray river - known as the Australian Mississippi - from a gushing torrent to a trickling stream. A build-up of sand and salt is the biggest problem generated by low rainfall that has dramatically changed the nature of the river over the past couple of decades. 

"When we first came down here, we had wetlands in front of us," said Richard Owen, whose old shack overlooks the mouth of the Murray as it runs into the Southern ocean. "Now you can just walk up and across the sand. It's just filled up," Mr Owen said. 

For the past three years, dredgers have been operating round the clock to keep the river's mouth from silting up. Even temporary respites in the drought - heavy rains last month and earlier in the year - do not seem to make much of an impact on the problem. 

A forecast by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, the organisation set up to manage the waterway, predicts that the total storage capacity of the river system will continue to decline next year, even with average rainfall. 

The river is described as a lifeline for the parched region of Australia, feeding water from the tropical north down the Darling river and from the eastern snowfields where the Murray's source lies 1,550 miles from the river's final destination. 

The basin is also the nation's food bowl, accounting for 41 per cent of the total value of Australia's agricultural sector. That is one of the problems as rice and cotton farmers take huge amounts of water to irrigate crops unsuited to Australia's dry climate.

 The Murray-Darling catchment plays a crucial role in supporting Australia's economy and rural life. It covers 1.06 million sq km (0.4m sq miles), or 15 per cent of Australia's landmass, equivalent to an area the size of France and Spain combined. 

Throughout the 19th and early 20th century, until rail transport took over, paddle steamers plied the river, transporting wool, wheat and goods from town to town.

 Mark Twain once likened the river in the 1880s to the Mississippi. During that period, farmers used the river water to irrigate crops, turning vast areas of arid lands into lush fields. But so much has been taken out and so many areas stripped of trees that river flows are falling and salinity rising as salt is brought to the surface soil with successive flooding and drought. 

In an average year, 13,000 million litres of Murray water flows to the sea. But after four years of drought, outflows are now down to an annual 5,000 million litres - a fraction of the flow of comparable rivers such as the Amazon and Yangtze. 

The national and state governments are spending about £200m over the next five years in an attempt to boost the flow and stabilise salinity levels. "Doing nothing is not an option," said Wendy Craik, chief executive of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission. 

Adelaide, the capital of South Australia state, draws 40 per cent of its water from the river. The government says supplies from the Murray could be unfit to drink within 20 years for the city of about one million. 

Salinity projects up and down the river are trying to stop 1,000 tons of salt a day from entering the water system under a plan to stabilise salinity levels. But more than a year on, the Murray Darling Basin Commission is still searching for an extra 260 million litres of water to meet its stated target of returning the river to its previous flow. 

Another problem is that the Murray is a slow and lazy river. Rainfall in the upper reaches of the Darling can take three months to make it downstream to Goolwa, so it takes a long time for the river to flush out all the impurities. http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article332109.ece

2-9-06 - DREAM - I was on a farm somewhere and the farmer had plowed an oval path and filled it with water in the winter to make a skating rink for the local kids.

I put on my skates too and was skating around and around, watching the kids. Then it snowed abut 4" and another woman skated by. She was upset that the farmer didn't come and plow the snow off the ice.  She asked me if this was a category 4 ice rink.

I said, "Yes! It is!"

She skated away, mad about that.

Then I noticed that the snow and ice was melting along the edges of the ice rink and the water was running into the culverts and kids were falling in and drowning.

The people were rushing to rescue the kids and pulling them out of the water.

I skated back to the place where I had put my skates on to change back into my shoes. There was a lot of black people on that end of the rink, just putting on their skates.

I noticed that the ice had melted at least 5 feet from the time I had put my skates on.

Now where there had been snow, the ground was so dry and parched from the sun, the plants were dying.

I had a hard time believing that the ice could disappear that fast and turn to drought as quickly.

The only way to rescue the plants was to put them into pots and water them individually, which is what I did.


History Making Drought Continues

By Mike Pieleck

February 09, 2006

Oklahoma's prevailing drought has just made history. And this bit of history isn’t something to cheer about.

Ty Judd, meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Norman office, said the period between September and January has been the third driest of all time, with records dating back 116 years to 1890.

Only 28 percent of normal rainfall fell in Oklahoma City between September and January, according to National Weather Service data. Normally, 12.9 inches of rain can be expected during this time period. However, this year only 3.61 inches of rain fell.

“We would normally be dry this time of year, but not nearly this dry,” Judd said.

Judd said the 0.29 inches of rain that have fallen in Norman since Jan. 1 have helped somewhat in the near term, but about 12 inches of rain are needed to overcome the dry conditions, Judd said.

Judd said the abnormally dry weather has been due to the fact that weather systems coming through central Oklahoma have been abnormally constructed, Judd said.

Normally, weather systems coming through the region will gather moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. Moisture is usually gathered over Oklahoma, giving the state rain or snow.

“The systems are coming through too fast to gather moisture this year,” Judd said.

The systems moving through have only brought strong winds and warmer-than-average temperatures, while moisture return has not occurred until the systems reach far eastern Oklahoma or Arkansas, Judd said.

James Fullingim, deputy fire chief in Norman, said warmer-than-average temperatures and high winds have been the culprit of the abnormally severe fire season this year.

“Strong winds drive the wild land fires,” Fullingim said.

Fullingim said higher temperatures, such as the ones we have seen this winter, cause relative humidities to drop, which aids in starting fires, Fullingim said.

Fullingim said that even though the fires have not been as severe as they were in January, the risk is still very high for wildfires.

Fullingim said OU students have been very cooperative by adhering to the statewide burn ban issued by Gov. Brad Henry.

“We’ve had good cooperation throughout the city,” Fullingim said.

The city will issue a citation to a first-time offender, with penalties of up to $750, Fullingim said.

Judd said meteorological tools are available to help firefighters combat the fires.

Judd said smoke plumes and the direction they are flowing are visible on Doppler radar, he said. He also said some satellites can monitor fire hot spots.

Wednesday, saw only 19 acres were burned in the state, which is not a lot compared to other days. A total of 1,863 fires have charred 437,195 acres since Nov. 1, according to Oklahoma Forestry Service data.

Even with the small amount of acres burned Tuesday, the fire danger is still high.

“We can not let our guard down yet,” John Roberts, incident commander at the Shawnee incident command post, said in a press release Wednesday.

According to the National Weather Service, There is a slight chance of rain Friday; however winds are forecasted to gust up to 32 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.

Drought may worsen in US Southwest, Plains: NOAA
      Thu Mar 16, 2006 
By Christopher Doering
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Drought that has shriveled crops and sparked fires in bone-dry forests will persist and could even worsen across the Southwest and central and southern Plains through at least June, U.S. government forecasters said Thursday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in its spring weather forecast that these regions, which have already seen thousands of acres go up in flames, should brace for a "significant" wildfire season in 2006 as conditions become more severe.

"We need to monitor this drought situation very closely," said David Johnson, director of NOAA's National Weather Service division.

The return of La Nina, an unusual cooling of Pacific Ocean surface temperatures which is the flip side of El Nino, could make the Atlantic tropical storm season especially dangerous.

Indeed, some forecasters have already warned that the number of storms may top the record set just last year.

La Nina developed during the winter and has contributed to the dryness plaguing much of the southern United States.

"It's showing no signs of declining...and the odds that it's going to last into late summer have gone up," said Ed O'Lenic, meteorologist with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

He said La Nina tends to enhance weather "favorable to the development of hurricanes and tropical storms in the Atlantic."

Last year was the busiest Atlantic hurricane season on record, with 27 named storms and 15 hurricanes. NOAA previously warned that the hurricane season -- which typically peaks between August 1 and late October -- could be active again in 2006.


Severe drought is blanketing the Southwest into the southern Plains and northward into Kansas. Heavy rains have eased dryness for now in Illinois, Iowa and extending south to Arkansas

But weather forecasters said "ongoing drought concerns may linger."

A scarcity of rain since last fall has parched hard red winter wheat and dried up stock ponds and pastures in the southern Plains. A storm expected to drop up to 2.5 inches of rain this weekend in the Great Plains could be too late to save the winter wheat crop, government forecasters said.

"It kind of remains to be seen how much recovery there will be in wheat. Some of that wheat is getting to...frankly the point of no return" said Brad Rippey, a USDA meteorologist.

"But for just about everything else including pre-planting moisture for summer crops, pasture revival, wildfire control, the rain is nothing but good," he added.

Improved soil moisture will bode well for U.S. soft red winter areas while providing much-needed relief for corn and soybean crops later this spring.

Spring also will bring above normal temperatures for the Southwest eastward into the Southeast with cooler-than-normal conditions for the northern Plains and northern Rockies.

Below-normal precipitation is expected for much of the central and southern Plains, as well as the Southeast and Gulf Coast. Above normal precipitation is favored across the northern Plains and Great Lakes region.


A heat wave baking California since mid July has killed 25,000 cattle and 700,000 fowl, prompting emergency measures and crippling the sector for months to come, analysts said.
Central California between Bakersfield and Redding is home to approximately 2.5 million cattle. Roughly 25,000 died because of the triple-digit temperatures since July 14, according to Andy Zylstra, president of the California Dairy Campaign.
"The timing is horrendous," he told AFP. "The price of milk is down 30 percent while feed, fuel, electricity prices are all up, and now we have these tremendous losses. It's just a kick in the head."
The losses amount to 1,500 to 2,500 dollars per head.
Milk production in central California is also down. Tulare-based Land O' Lakes Creamery normally produces 1.6 million gallons (6.0 million liters) of milk daily. The company has been reporting losses of 400,000 gallons (1.1 million liters) a day, according to Zylstra.
Disposal of the cattle creates another economic drain on strapped dairy farmers, and the sheer numbers of carcasses heading to the rendering plants has forced some counties to declare a state of emergency. Normally outlawed as a disposal method in California, many of the dead cattle are buried in landfills or composted on site.
Though not sustaining the losses of the dairy industry, poultry farmers are also disposing of millions of pounds of chickens and turkeys in landfills. Most central California poultry farms house their birds in ventilated, water-cooled barns that keep the temperature at 76 degrees F (24 degrees C), according to Bill Mattos, President of California Poultry Association.
"But when the temperatures reach over 100 degrees F (38 degrees C), it can be devastating to the smaller producer," Mattos told AFP. He estimates that 700,000 birds have been lost in the summer heat.
Coroner looking into dozens of 'heat' deaths
Posted: 7/28/2006 2:17:16 PM

The Fresno County Coroner’s Office says it’s on the verge of a crisis situation as dozens of people are dying in the extreme heat wave sweeping the Valley.

Coroner Lori Cervantes says they’re looking into dozens of possible heat-related deaths.

The morgue, which can only hold up to 50 bodies, is over capacity. At one point, the coroner says they had to accommodate 60 bodies, meaning some were stacked on top of one another.

In addition to the lack of space, workers are plagued by sweltering temperatures because there is no air conditioner in the room where they perform autopsies

In California, Heat Is Blamed for 100 Deaths

FRESNO, Calif., July 27 — A searing heat wave nearly two weeks old is responsible for more than 100 deaths across California, the authorities said Thursday. So overwhelmed is the local coroner’s office here that it has been forced to double-stack bodies.

Most of the deaths have occurred in the landlocked Central Valley, the state's agricultural spine, where triple-digit temperatures have lately been the norm. The heat has been linked to at least 22 deaths here in Fresno County, whose funeral homes have offered to help with the corone';s backlog.

We're just trying to catch up",; said Joseph Tiger, a deputy coroner in Fresno. "I have been here 10 years, and I have never seen it this bad. Our boss has been here over 20, and he hasn't seen it this bad either. For the last two weeks it has just been unbearable hot.”

The Governor's Office of Emergency Services said the heat wave had been confirmed as the cause of death among at least 53 people around the state. Pending autopsies, heat-related causes are presumed in the death of scores of others, said Roni Java, a spokeswoman for the emergency services office.

Many of these suspected heat deaths have been among the elderly, who often live as shut-ins and will not open windows, said Loralee Cervantes, the Fresno County coroner.

The toll of such casualties has no recent precedent in California. According to data provided by the California Department of Health Services, the greatest number of heat-related deaths in the state since 1989 had been 40, in 2000. A department spokeswoman, Patti Roberts, said data prior to 1989 were unavailable.

Among the dead here were a 38-year-old worker found in a field, an unidentified man around 40 who made it to a hospital emergency room where his body temperature was recorded at 109.9 degrees and a 58-year-old man who was found drunk. Statewide, Ms. Java said, the youngest person killed by the heat has been a 20-year-old man from San Diego, and the oldest a 95-year-old man in Imperial County, on the Mexican border.

A doctor and his assistant toiled here on Thursday in the coroner’s office, which recently grew to 50 beds from 25 after getting a bioterrorism grant but has rarely had 25 bodies. On Thursday morning there were 58.

The morgue was converted from an eyeglass factory several years ago and has no air-conditioning in crucial areas. Decomposition has been a problem, Ms. Cervantes said, and bodies have piled up because of the lack of space.

“This has been our biggest challenge,” Ms. Cervantes said in an interview. “It’s frustrating.”

While the Central Valley is used to temperatures crackling in the triple digits at this time of year, the evenings tend to be cooler. But temperatures in recent days have been lingering in the 80’s after sunset, mixed with humidity far higher than this region is accustomed to.

By midday Thursday the mercury had hit 112 in Fresno, though temperatures elsewhere had dropped and weather forecasters were predicting a break in the heat almost everywhere in the state by Friday.

In the meantime, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said, state workers are doing everything possible to prevent additional deaths.

“The summer heat wave continues to be dangerous as California has seen record-breaking, consecutive days of triple-digit temperatures,” Mr. Schwarzenegger said in a statement. “A mobilized force of local workers will continue to knock on doors and make phone calls to protect our vulnerable residents who may be exposed to the relentless heat.”

The record temperatures have also hit farmers hard, with roughly 16,500 cows, 1 percent of the state’s dairy herd, dying of the heat, according to California Dairies, the state’s largest milk cooperative. Further, panting, miserable cows, which lack the benefit of sweat glands, have yielded 10 percent to 20 percent less milk than usual, said trade groups and dairy farmers in the region. California produces more milk than any other state in the country, providing about 12 percent of the American supply.

Six counties have declared states of emergency because of the large number of dead livestock, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture has waived a regulation requiring haulers of dead animals to transport them to rendering plants in eight counties in the Central Valley. The waiver frees the haulers to leave the carcasses in landfills.

“It is just a bad, bad situation,” said Larry Collar, the quality assurance manager for California Dairies. “In 25 years in Southern California, this is the most extreme temperatures we have ever seen and the most extreme length of time we have seen.”

The high temperatures have also caused problems with field crops around the state.

“We have been having trouble mainly in the Central Valley with the walnuts,” said Ann Schmidt-Fogarty, a spokeswoman for the California Farm Bureau. “The intensity of the sun and heat actually burns them inside the shell.”

In addition, she said, the weather has caused delicate fruits like peaches, nectarines and plums to ripen unevenly.

At the Te Velde dairy farm in Bakersfield, about 100 miles south of here, 16 cows have perished in the last 11 days, and 12 more have been sent to slaughter because they could not handle the heat, said Ralph Te Velde, 59, who has run that family farm for three decades.

The rest of his 1,600 cows sought relief under a patch of water misters Thursday morning, but by 9:30 a.m. some were already showing signs of distress, their fat pink tongues dangling to their chins.

One of the herd, her five-minute-old calf being licked by a neighboring cow a few feet away, was being hosed down by Mr. Te Velde’s son. At the end of the lot, dead cows were piled up, their carcasses a twisted black and white mass.

Mr. Te Velde and other dairy farmers have struggled to get rendering companies to come and get dead livestock. “The main challenge is a disposal challenge in the Central Valley,” said Steve Lyle, a spokesman for the Department of Food and Agriculture.

Dino Giacomazzi, a dairy farmer in Hanford, between Fresno and Bakersfield, said he had been watching Yahoo! Weather for days, hoping to see the last of the heat.

“We spend a lot of time and money making sure these cows are comfortable all the time,” Mr. Giacomazzi said. “Because uncomfortable cows don’t make milk.”

Fire Threatens Transmission Lines

SACRAMENTO, July 27 (AP) — A wind-driven wildfire near the Oregon border is threatening the major power transmission lines between California and the Pacific Northwest, though California grid operators said Thursday that they could reroute electricity if the lines went dead.

State and federal air tankers, ground crews and equipment are being diverted from other areas to fight the fire, which is burning among three transmission lines about a mile and a half apart. The fire is paralleling the lines, which together carry about 4,200 megawatts between the Bonneville Power Administration, in Washington, and California.

The fire, caused by lightning, was discovered Tuesday and had grown to more than 400 acres by Thursday.

Last modified: July 28. 2006 12:00AM

More Than 60 Percent of U.S. in Drought
Mark Svoboda, climatologist for the National Drought Mitigation Center, "reluctant to say how bad the current drought might become"

July 30, 2006
By James Macpherson, Associated Press Writer
Seattle Post Intelligencer

STEELE, N.D. -- More than 60 percent of the United States now has abnormally dry or drought conditions, stretching from Georgia to Arizona and across the north through the Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin, said Mark Svoboda, a climatologist for the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

Photo: Drought stricken corn withers in a field in Linton, N.D., Wednesday, July 26, 2006. Fields of wheat, durum and barley in the Dakotas this dry summer will never end up as pasta, bread or beer. What is left of the stifled crops has been salvaged to feed livestock struggling on pastures where hot winds blow clouds of dirt from dried-out ponds. (AP Photo/Will Kincaid)

An area stretching from south central North Dakota to central South Dakota is the most drought-stricken region in the nation, Svoboda said.

"It's the epicenter," he said. "It's just like a wasteland in north central South Dakota."

Conditions aren't much better a little farther north. Paul Smokov and his wife, Betty, raise several hundred cattle on their 1,750-acre ranch north of Steele, a town of about 760 people.

Fields of wheat, durum and barley in the Dakotas this dry summer will never end up as pasta, bread or beer. What is left of the stifled crops has been salvaged to feed livestock struggling on pastures where hot winds blow clouds of dirt from dried-out ponds.

Some ranchers have been forced to sell their entire herds, and others are either moving their cattle to greener pastures or buying more already-costly feed. Hundreds of acres of grasslands have been blackened by fires sparked by lightning or farm equipment.

"These 100-degree days for weeks steady have been burning everything up," said Steele Mayor Walter Johnson, who added that he'd prefer 2 feet of snow over this weather.

Farm ponds and other small bodies of water have dried out from the heat, leaving the residual alkali dust to be whipped up by the wind. The blowing, dirt-and-salt mixture is a phenomenon that hasn't been seen in south central North Dakota since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, Johnson said.

North Dakota's all-time high temperature was set here in July 1936, at 121. Smokov, now 81, remembers that time and believes conditions this summer probably are worse.

"I could see this coming in May," Smokov said of the parched pastures and wilted crops. "That's the time the good Lord gives us our general rains. But we never got them this year."

Brad Rippey, a federal Agriculture Department meteorologist in Washington, said this year's drought is continuing one that started in the late 1990s. "The 1999 to 2006 drought ranks only behind the 1930s and the 1950s. It's the third-worst drought on record - period," Rippey said.


Svoboda was reluctant to say how bad the current drought might eventually be.

"We'll have to wait to see how it plays out - but it's definitely bad," he said. "And the drought seems to not be going anywhere soon."

Herman Schumacher, who owns Herreid Livestock Auction in north central South Dakota, said his company is handling more sales than ever because of the drought.

In May, June and July last year, his company sold 3,800 cattle. During the same months this year, more than 27,000 cattle have been sold, he said.

"I've been in the barn here for 25 years and I can't even compare this year to any other year," Schumacher said.

He said about 50 ranchers have run cows through his auction this year.

"Some of them just trimmed off their herds, but about a third of them were complete dispersions - they'll never be back," he said.

"This county is looking rough - these 100-degree days are just killing us," said Gwen Payne, a North Dakota State University extension agent in Kidder County, where Steele is located.

The Agriculture Department says North Dakota last year led the nation in production of 15 different commodity classes, including spring wheat, durum wheat, barley, oats, canola, pinto beans, dry edible peas, lentils, flaxseed, sunflower and honey.

North Dakota State University professor and researcher Larry Leistritz said it's too early to tell what effect this year's drought will have on commodity prices. Flour prices already have gone up and may rise more because of the effect of drought on wheat.

"There will be somewhat higher grain prices, no doubt about it," Leistritz said. "With livestock, the short-term effect may mean depressed meat prices, with a larger number of animals being sent to slaughter. But in the longer run it may prolong the period of relatively high meat prices."

Eventually, more than farmers could suffer.

"Agriculture is not only the biggest industry in the state, it's just about the only industry," Leistritz said. "Communities live or die with the fortunes of agriculture."

Susie White, who runs the Lone Steer motel and restaurant in Steele, along Interstate 94, said even out-of-state travelers notice the drought.

"Even I never paid attention to the crops around here. But I notice them now because they're not there," she said.

"We're all wondering how we're going to stay alive this winter if the farmers don't make any money this summer," she said.


On the Net: National Drought Mitigation Center: http://drought.unl.edu/



Feb. 10, 2006, 7:36PM
Panel: Drought May Bring Arizona Problems

TUCSON, Ariz. — The lack of rain or snow across Arizona may be fueling a perfect storm in terms of dramatic drought, devastating wildfires and heavy groundwater demand, weather scientists and water specialists said Friday.

"Certainly the conditions are there for it," said David Modeer, the director of Tucson Water, during a briefing at the University of Arizona. "It just depends on how things progress through the balance of the summer season."

"There's definitely a potential for this to be a fire season like none of us has ever remembered before," added Sarah Davis, a spokeswoman for the Coronado National Forest in southeastern Arizona.

Experts say the drought is worst in Arizona, followed by New Mexico and then Southern California.

"It's not the whole West; it's primarily the Southwest, with Arizona much worse than New Mexico right now, but certainly if it continues on, New Mexico will be in the same situation," said Glen Sampson, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service's Tucson forecast office.

Jeff Phillips, a U.S. Geological Survey water resources specialist, said the drought began in Arizona in 1996. Several of the researchers said last year's snow and rainfall was simply an aberration.

Modeer said that lack of rainfall and higher temperatures than normal have forced Tucson to use more groundwater daily than planned to augment its Central Arizona Project-supplied water.

Average daily use has been about 98 million gallons a day, versus about 67 to 68 million gallons a day normally this time of year. Both amounts exceed the 50 million gallons of CAP water accessible daily.

Even so, he said Tucson has more than sufficient groundwater supplies and will not have to impose restrictions.

Sampson said all of Arizona is either abnormally dry or in extreme drought. Tucson experienced its driest September-through-January ever and is in the running to record the driest winter, with just .01 of an inch so far. In 1999-2000, .29 of an inch of rain fell.

A weak La Nina weather pattern, created by cooler water temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean, has decreased the likelihood of winter storms through Arizona and is expected to continue for three to six months, according to Sampson.

He said that even if summer monsoonal rains are normal, Arizona would wind up with below-average rainfall because of virtually none this winter.

On top of that, the lack of snowpack in the state's northern mountains is dramatic, said Gregg Garfin, program manager of Climate Assessment for the Southwest and the UA's Institute for the Study of Planet Earth.

In the Upper Colorado River Basin, which contributes to the CAP water that flows into Arizona, snowpack has been about 100 percent of average "whereas in Arizona it's about 13 percent," Garfin said.

As a result, Lake Powell may fill up a bit, forecast for 105 percent of average streamflow. But the Upper Gila River, for instance, is only expected to receive only 24 percent of average streamflow. Garfin said if that occurs, "there would be some implications for riparian areas."

On northeastern Arizona's Mount Baldy, only about an inch of snow has fallen; 11 inches fell last year. "If we get no snow, that has implications down the line," Garfin said.

And David Breshears, an ecologist in the UA's School of Natural Resources, said severe drought can trigger major tree mortality.

Davis said Arizona's fire season will be longer, start sooner and be more severe, given the anticipated abnormally warmer temperatures through the summer, poor tree condition and heavy undergrowth after last year's precipitation that has dried out and is ready to burn.

Climate change threatens new dust bowl in Southwest

A dust storm approaches Spearman, Texas, in this 1935 file photo. Research models suggest that climate in the southwestern USA began a transition to drier conditions late in the 20th century and is continuing the trend in this century.

"Dust Bowl" drought driven by global warming will be the normal climate of the future for the American Southwest, report climatologists.

"We're essentially moving the desert further north," says Mingfang Ting of Columbia University, co-author of a study released Thursday by the journal Science. By 2020, rain estimates show "very unusual" agreement among climate projections, with the Southwestern states facing permanent drought. That would worsen already arid conditions in Las Vegas, Phoenix and other locales dependent on the Colorado River, Ting says.

EARTH INSTITUTE: Drought research

The study comes as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases today the second of four 2007 reports on global warming's region-by-region environmental and human impact in this century.

In the Science study, a team led by Richard Seager of Columbia University compared the effects across 19 global climate projections. It forecast a future in which, by 2050, greenhouse gas emissions have nearly doubled from present-day levels, factoring a business-as-usual scenario of steady economic growth and stable population worldwide. Only one model projects more rain for the region, with the drying out worsening with each decade.

The finding aligns with past studies that suggest "the Southwest is 'ground zero' for a drying effect, and that is a critical issue for the Colorado River," says University of Washington hydrologist Dennis Lettenmaier, who was not a member of the study group.

Historically, droughts in the Southwest have been tied to periodic El Niño warming of Pacific Ocean waters, but the aridity described by climate models is of a more lasting nature, Ting says, a stretching of the Mexican climate into the USA. The only other area where models show such strong agreement on global warming effects is for the countries around the Mediterranean Sea, similarly expected to dry out, she says.

Previously, much of the concern in the Southwest has involved decreasing snowpack, says atmospheric scientist Steven Ghan of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. "But this is news because it suggests a shift in the precipitation itself."



Water, Drought and Preparedness
Drought is computed based on the _averages_ for a given area. ... At least 50%
of each the following states are in "moderate drought": California, Utah, ...
www.greatdreams.com/drought.htm - 

DROUGHT - 2002
The drought gripping Australia could be a catalyst for sparking the nation's worst
... Mr Gould said that the problems had been exacerbated by the drought ...
www.greatdreams.com/drought_2002.htm -

Then there is the drought. That too is a sad situation. ... Too much wind, too
much water, too much sun, too much drought - nothing in moderation. ...

Water, Drought and Preparedness ... 11th Palmer Drought chart
http://www.agribiz.com/weather/palmerdr.html shows parts of Oregon, Kentucky and
Indiana in ...
www.greatdreams.com/weather-deaths.htm -

During Napoleon's lifetime there was a drought. The drought had continued for
over a month when his owner noticed the clever cat adopt his "rain on the way" ...

EXTREME WEATHER - SUMMER 2000 - A New Prophecy by Edgar Cayce - A ...
And while the mercury stays high in the drought-weary region, ... A drought has
ruined the entire annual harvest in eastern Georgia, the agency said. ...

... the bearers of drought, hurricanes and war, dwell in the nine levels of the
... village in the highlands of Mexico is suffering a severe drought. ...
www.greatdreams.com/mayan/the-nine.htm - 

Drought is a natural part of cyclical weather patterns in North America, . ...
11th Palmer Drought chart http://www.agribiz.com/weather/palmerdr.html shows ...
www.greatdreams.com/weather/weather_anomalies.htm -

(That told me that prices will rise because of flood or drought and we'd better buy corn ahead of time so we don't get caught in the food crunch next June). ...
www.greatdreams.com/russia.htm -

Cooper said the drought severity index in Nassau County is currently low, but other conditions make burning potentially dangerous. ...

... the 1-to-2.5-inch rains in drought-ridden northern Georgia and northwest South Carolina certainly helped the surface moisture and helped the water sheds ...

prolonged drought. Nevertheless chaos ensued Friday in the main rice market in eastern Jakarta when hundreds of people jostled to buy the staple. ...

There was also a drought in Black Elk's vision before the blue man was killed. This is also related in James 5:17 and Luke 4:25, referring to the story in 1 ...

She cried and said, "My faithful remnant and my children, why don't you wake up and see the drought you experience and shortage of water? ...
www.greatdreams.com/smoke_in_the_catholic_church.htm -


The Importance of UFOs Being Known in the United States (with links) Spirit Message 15 - THE TUNING Spirit Message 16 - Floods and Drought ...
www.greatdreams.com/reldrms.htm - 

Some animals, such as the gecko (a kind of lizard), avoid drought by becoming dormant, shutting down some of their bodily activities during dry periods. ...
www.greatdreams.com/eeyore/gecko.htm - 

SPIRIT MESSAGE - 17 - Pakistan and India - Nuclear War - The Mars ...
Spirit Message 16 - Floods and Drought. Spirit Message 17 Pakistan - India - The Mars/Earth Connection. Spirit Message 18 Communicating with Spirits, ...

A larger white cloud came over and off the edge of the cloud, over the dried,
brown drought colored (light tan) field to the south of the house, ...
www.greatdreams.com/donut.htm - 

Spirit Message: Mercy Killing, Forgiveness and Love
Spirit Message 15 - THE TUNING. Spirit Message 16 - Floods and Drought.
Spirit Message 17 Pakistan - India - The Mars/Earth Connection ...

The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters Saturday allocated 5
million yuan (610000 US dollars) for flood relief to Northeast China's ...
www.greatdreams.com/weather/ massive_floods_in_history.htm - 

... on Havana and the rest of western Cuba as Arlene passed the island's westernmost
tip early Friday was welcome relief from the island's severe drought. ...
www.greatdreams.com/weather/hurricanes_of_2005.htm - 

... have enjoyed good weather this year, but several states, including Nebraska,
Kansas, Texas and Georgia, have been going through a severe drought. ...
www.greatdreams.com/reagan.htm - 

Dennis spread about 2 inches of rain over drought-stricken New Jersey during the
... Remnants of Dennis Trigger Flooding, but Lessen Drought Conditions ...
www.greatdreams.com/dennis99.htm -

"We'll effectively be drought-proofing the region as we develop high-quality
water, enhance natural storage facilities and remedy environmental conditions ...
www.greatdreams.com/coincidence/water_coincidences.htm - 

flood, drought, famine, pestilence, war, anarchy, astral bombardment and polar
shifts. Aliens who become superheroes arrive in spacecrafts to rescue the ...

There will still be wars and strife, famine, drought, floods, disease worldwide
before the tuning happens. But even through all that, it is important to ...
www.greatdreams.com/tuning.htm - 

How did this poor, drought- ridden nation become the US's main target? More than
three weeks later, having selected their enemy, the US and UK military ...

These gracious benefits replaced the drought, defilement and dearth that had so
long blighted their civil and social life. Yet such blessings in themselves ...
www.greatdreams.com/sacred/israel-marriage-bond.htm - 

Cyprus suffers long periods of drought and has two water desalination units.
Authorities last week said they had temporarily shelved plans to build a third ...
www.greatdreams.com/winter_2001.htm -

The historical record also reveals a "mega-drought," longer and more severe ...
... Weather Service's summer drought forecast issued last month, ...
www.greatdreams.com/weather/winter_records-2004.htm - 

Afghanistan has also suffered the effects of a debilitating drought that followed
... It is basically going for drought relief, shelter, tents and blankets, ...
www.greatdreams.com/trade_day6.htm - 

Much heat and drought. I spoke to you of loss of many crops. ... You have seen
the drought stricken areas where My children are drinking water unfit for man ...

In 1968 a drought struck Mauritania and the Sabel region, an occurrence that comes in
... The nomad population as in Mauritania has shrunk with the drought. ...

He predicts that in 2001, and the years following, the world will experience "drought,
war, malaria, and hunger afflicting entire populations throughout the ...
www.greatdreams.com/proph.htm - 

II.84 Severe drought preceding WW III, Russia invading Europe via Austria. ...
COMMENT: Severe drought shall occur in the southern Europe and then the ...

... I went outside then and saw that there was a drought going on. I had planted
a lot of seeds in the garden but nothing came up yet. ...
www.greatdreams.com/feb2003.htm -

Most of the fires set by locals for land clearing or were caused by extreme
drought conditions. Dangers are carbon dioxide and methane gases, ...

(1:11) And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon
the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ...
www.greatdreams.com/father.htm - 

Because of El Niño, Mexico experimented the worst drought in 70 years and ...
In neighboring Nevada, where the fire season begins Friday, drought has left ...
www.greatdreams.com/firstorm.htm - 

Asia: High temperatures, drought, floods and soil degradation likely will ...
That, along with frequent drought, has required the shipment of drinking water ...
www.greatdreams.com/warming.htm - 

GLOBAL WARMING - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 compiled by Dee Finney DO NOT ...
"We may already be seeing - in the increased incidence of drought, floods and
extreme weather events that many regions are experiencing - some of the ...

Job 24:19 Drought and heat consume the snow waters: [so doth] the grave [those
which] have sinned. Job 24:20 The womb shall forget him; the worm shall feed ...
www.greatdreams.com/trees.htm - 

... however, when pastures are scarce or in times of drought, cattle will graze
... occur after climatic changes such as heavy rain, flooding, or drought. ...
www.greatdreams.com/may-2003.htm - 

Drought and flooding will again take their toll on your people and their food
... With drought you will have many fires. With violent storms you will see ...

... it was constructed such that it only worked between midnight and 6 am and its
purpose was to prevent damage from drought caused by the earthchanges. ...

Getting Ready for Impact with 1998 OX4? - Now also 2001PM9
The end of Cancer, there is a very great drought. Fish in the sea, river and lake
hectically boiled, Bearn and Bigorre in distress from fire in the sky. ...
www.greatdreams.com/1998ox4.htm - 

Seattle Earthquake - Feb. 28, 2001
The thirst could be this drought we have as a symbol. who knows, but it looks
like the old fart is Seeing now also. He was moving around like a nervous mad ...

Towards end of the wars there will be famines because of drought and a superabundance
of snow and ice; Peace is near when the true pope and the anti-pope ...

They were symbolic of difficult times, drought, and bad harvests. Ix was the
yearbearer of the north. The Mayan signs of the south, Kan, Lamat, Eb, Cib, ...
www.greatdreams.com/26.htm - 

We would have huge drought areas, which wouldn’t grow food, (including the middle
of the ... Drought conditions are expected to move north in coming months. ...
www.greatdreams.com/chems.htm - 

... wetland losses from drought; soil degradation (salination); inadequate supplies
of potable water; water pollution from raw sewage and industrial waste; ...
www.greatdreams.com/war/tulghur-iran.htm - 

Zora Henry - through Patrick Henry
Henry’s first effort at farming failed during the severe drought that afflicted
Virginia. 1755 Patrick and Sarah Henry’s first child, Martha (Patsey), ...
www.greatdreams.com/henry/patrick-henry.htm -

... Standardized Precipitation Index (STI) Maps for Drought Monitoring ·
National Atmospheric Deposition Program/National Trends Network (NADP/NTN) Sites ...
www.greatdreams.com/maps.htm - 

Agricultural experts of the Inter-state Committee to Fight Drought in the
Sahel (CILSS) meeting in Dakar last week said the organisation's nine member ...
www.greatdreams.com/locusts.htm - 

Spirit Message 16 - Floods and Drought - Floods - Droughts · Pakistan - India -
The Mars/Earth Connection · Spirit Message 18 Communicating with Spirits, ...

SPIRIT MESSAGE - Number 21 - Be Prepared!!!
Spirit Message 15 - THE TUNING. Spirit Message 16 - Floods and Drought ·
Spirit Message 17 Pakistan - India - The Mars/Earth Connection ...

A larger white cloud came over and off the edge of the cloud, over the drought
dried field to the south of the house, poured a shower of dark rain. ...
www.greatdreams.com/nydrms.htm -

www.greatdreams.com/survival.htm - 

DROUGHT DREAMS. Global Warming. DREAMS OF GLOBAL WARMING. Tsunami. TSUNAMI IN OUR FUTURE ... Nature of Tsunami. The waves created by a sudden disturbance in ...
www.greatdreams.com/my_dreams_that_came_true.htm -

SPIRIT MESSAGE - 18 - Communicating with Spirits, Ghosts, Walkins ...
Spirit Message 16 - Floods and Drought · Spirit Message 17 Pakistan - India - The Mars/Earth Connection. Spirit Message 18 Communicating with Spirits, ...
www.greatdreams.com/spirit_message18.htm -

In Apulia very great drought. The Cock will see the Eagle, its wing poorly finished, By the Lion will it be put into extremity. ...

THE 21
Despite their successful culture, the Anasazi way of life declined in the 1300s, probably because of drought and intertribal warfare. ...
www.greatdreams.com/21.htm - 

Yet, there will be areas where drought will dry and crack the earth and fires will burn out of control. Animals and people will starve and heat will burn ...
www.greatdreams.com/sacred/dire_jesus.htm - 

But gas pipelines, most power supply stations, phone lines and water service have been knocked out across the arid state, which is prone to drought. ...
www.greatdreams.com/indiaq1.htm - 

SPIRIT MESSAGE - #16 - FLOOD AND DROUGHT ... DROUGHT - 2002 ... Water tables have fallen significantly across the reservation, Manuel said ... may not ...
www.greatdreams.com/water-quality.htm -


NDMC - National Drought Mitigation Center NEF - National Energy Foundation NEIA - Newfoundland Environmental Industry Association ...

NDMC - National Drought Mitigation Center NEF - National Energy Foundation NEIA - Newfoundland Environmental Industry Association ...
www.greatdreams.com/environ.htm - 

Job 24:19 Drought and heat consume the snow waters : so doth the Sheol those which have sinned. Job 26:6 Sheol is naked before him, and destruction hath no ...
www.greatdreams.com/sacred/hell_saved.htm -

The 4th World - and the 5th World of the Aztecs
... natural phenomena, (such as hurricanes, earthquakes, drought and floods, overheating and the melting of the glaciers), if we don't create that strength ...
www.greatdreams.com/4th-world.htm -

Now they are left with only 10.000; the rest were sold or eaten, died in the way or in the drought which has struck the area during the last three years. ...
www.greatdreams.com/syphilis.htm - 

... snow and ice and great drought shall there be and many dissensions among the peoples, blasphemy, iniquity, envy and villainy, indolence, ...
www.greatdreams.com/end_time_flood.htm - 

Drought in many areas is being caused not only by a lack of rain, but the ground water level is going deeper as well. Strong heat during the summer will ...
www.greatdreams.com/sacred/dire_jesus9.htm - 

And that’s the function of the 500 year drought we’re in out here, is it that this has been ongoing for summer after summer after summer. ...

www.greatdreams.com/aarons-rod.htm - 97k - Cached - Similar pages · SPIRIT MESSAGE - #16 - FLOOD AND DROUGHT ... 16. by Dee Finney. ...
www.greatdreams.com/sacred/putters-change.htm - 

Although there is no equivalent in Canaan of the sterile summer drought that occurs in Mesopotamia, the season cycle was marked enough to have caused a ...
www.greatdreams.com/sacred/eight_pointed_star.htm - 

There are places in the west of the US under years of drought conditions. Elsewhere in the world this is happening, while at the same time other areas are ...

DROUGHT AND HEAT ... Dire warnings of imminent global food shortages should be
welcome news in ... Afterward, he whimsically dubbed the message ...
www.greatdreams.com/sacred/miracle_of_the_roses.htm - 

... parasites, Colloid Silver, gasoline, wind up ... SPIRIT MESSAGE - #16 - FLOOD
AND DROUGHT ... Stock up on drinking water, fuel, food, whatever it takes. ...
www.greatdreams.com/blackout.htm - 

Reptilians - The Connection to Dulce - by Branton
Storms, flood and drought -- with those few things they can bring any country to
their knees in a hurry. Yes, I do recommend going underground. ...
www.greatdreams.com/reptilian-humanoids.htm -

Flood Kills Seven Chinese Miners. The Associated Press. Sunday, August 11, 2002;
1:36 AM. BEIJING –– Water flooded a mine shaft in central China's Henan ...