Iowa scientists: Drought a sign of climate change

Nov 19, 2012

More than 130 scientists from Iowa colleges and universities say this year's drought is consistent with a warmer climate predicted as part of global climate change and more droughts can be expected.

Scientists and researchers from 27 Iowa colleges and universities signed the Iowa Climate Statement released Monday. It says a warming climate causes wet years to be wetter and dry years to be hotter and dryer. Those extremes lead to more flooding and drought, and Iowa has experienced both in recent years.

The state was hard hit this year when drought spread across two-thirds of the country.

The scientists say warming will continue as increase and accumulate, and they expect a growing number of droughts as soon as the 2020s.

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3.3 / 5 (7) Nov 19, 2012
2 / 5 (14) Nov 19, 2012

Duh! What causes "less rain"? Drought and drying conditions in areas where global warming will make DRIER over time, maybe? Your linked "UN study" is useless if they don't recognize that less/more rain will affect areas differently depending on weather/wind patterns affected by global warming influences on the extremes, extents and distibutions of the consequences of more energy in the circulation/convection and transitional interactions between more extreme highs and lows and more moist/dry atmospheric regions/flows.

The bigger picture trumps all these one-eyed 'denialist' so-called 'studies'. Enjoy the increasingly extreme weather, Tausch, it's becoming 'the new norm' you can see for yourself by now. Cheers!
2.7 / 5 (10) Nov 19, 2012
The study Tausch linked to relies on real world data rather than models and speculation. This article reads as a blatant cash grab.
3 / 5 (2) Nov 20, 2012
But, according to a team led by Princeton University environmental scientist Justin Sheffield, the PDSI is a blunt instrument that should be tossed out."

Couple profs from Princeton and an Aussie are responsible for the research. Their interpretation, based upon the use of what they describe as a "more realistic" model,

"...suggest that there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years."

Of course it is open to question as to just how much "more realistic" their model is. The addition of new data sets may have obscured the signal.

Another problem is the definition of drought. The PDSI relies upon precipitation and groundwater as principle defining parameters. In other words, less precipitation, and greater reduction in groundwater/soil moisture over a longer period of time equals more intense drought.

This Princeton/Aussie team are hairsplitting/overdefining, and it appears that their tool DOES include variably superflouos data.

3 / 5 (2) Nov 20, 2012
What the Princeton/Aus team did was to create an effective model of weather in areas affected by drought, without isolating the fact of the drought, itself --much less whether it was intensifying.