The central US bears the brunt of the drought, with stressed crops and scarce rivers – Digital Journal

In the past year alone, the world has been hit by escalating heat waves and droughts that have wilted crops – Copyright AFP Asaad NIAZI

In the middle of the US crops are stressed by drought. rivers are running dry and cities and towns are anxiously awaiting relief.

Mike Shane’s farm in Illinois got well soaked on May 8, shortly after he planted his 200-1 acre crop of corn, but very little rain has fallen since then.

“It comes across the Mississippi River and then it just disappears,” said Shane, 47. “My corn looks terrible right now.” With no substantial rain soon, “I just don’t see any hope for that,” he said, according to the Associated Press.

During the winter, the western part of the United States benefited from heavy rain and snow brought by the many atmospheric rivers. But now, the center of the country is going through an extraordinary drought.

Adam Hartman, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Center for Climate Prediction, said parts of the central US have been experiencing extreme dryness since winter. In other states, “flash droughts” have appeared in the last two to three months.

The term “flash drought” is relatively new, only coming into use in 2016. flash drought refers to relatively short periods of warm surface temperature and extremely low and rapidly falling soil moisture (SM). Based on the physical mechanisms associated with flash droughts, these events fall into two categories: heat waves and precipitating P-deficient flash droughts, according to the researchers.

Drought Monitor as of June 27, 2023. Nearly half of Kansas is in extreme or exceptional drought conditions, the highest drought designation. Over a quarter of Nebraska is in extreme drought and 13% is in exceptional drought. Arid conditions permeate Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, and Kentucky. Fountain – Data from NOAA

Basically, experts say the drought in the central US is the worst since at least 2012 and, in some areas, compares to the 1988 drought that devastated corn, wheat and soybean crops. the daily gazette is reporting.

This year, although the temperatures have been generally mild during spring and the first days of summer, the rains have been very little.

The intensity of extreme droughts and rainfall has increased “sharply” in the last 20 years, according to a study published on March 13, 2023 in the journal Nature Water. These are not simply difficult weather events, but are leading to extremes such as crop failure, infrastructure damage, and even humanitarian crises and conflict.

The big picture for water comes from data from a pair of satellites known as GRACE, o Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, which were used to measure changes in Earth’s water storage: the sum of all the water on and in the earth, including groundwater, surface water, ice, and snow .

In the study, two NASA scientists examined 20 years of data from the NASA/Germany GRACE and GRACE-FO satellites to identify extreme wet and dry events. Floods and droughts account for more than 20 percent of the economic losses caused by extreme weather events in the united states every year. The economic impacts are similar around the world, although the human cost tends to be most devastating in poor neighborhoods and developing countries.

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