Tom Nelson observes some interesting and inconvenient data to rebut The Guardian’s Susanne Goldenberg and Paul Krugman of the New York Times: For warmists trying to convince us that carbon dioxide causes lower US corn yields, an *extremely* inconvenient graph
[Warmist Suzanne Goldenberg] …because of a brutal combination of triple-digit (40C) temperatures and prolonged drought. Scientists see both as evidence of climate change.
[Warmist Paul Krugman] I’ve been searching for something useful to say about the epic heat wave and drought afflicting U.S. agriculture…
Yet with so much of the American political spectrum in fierce denial over the issue, there is no prospect whatsoever of getting action.
But the data says otherwise Ms. Goldenberg and Mr. Krugman. Have a look for yourself, one year, one drought, does not a trend make. But Krugman is relying upon the heated hyperbolic opinion of Joe Romm, so I suppose we can understand how he was taken in.
Roger Pielke Jr. pulls out his handy BS button for this one, citing Krugmans passage:
[R]eally extreme high temperatures, the kind of thing that used to happen very rarely in the past, have now become fairly common. Think of it as rolling two sixes, which happens less than 3 percent of the time with fair dice, but more often when the dice are loaded. And this rising incidence of extreme events, reflecting the same variability of weather that can obscure the reality of climate change, means that the costs of climate change aren’t a distant prospect, decades in the future. On the contrary, they’re already here, even though so far global temperatures are only about 1 degree Fahrenheit above their historical norms, a small fraction of their eventual rise if we don’t act.
The great Midwestern drought is a case in point. This drought has already sent corn prices to their highest level ever. If it continues, it could cause a global food crisis, because the U.S. heartland is still the world’s breadbasket. And yes, the drought is linked to climate change: such events have happened before, but they’re much more likely now than they used to be.
Now, maybe this drought will break in time to avoid the worst. But there will be more events like this. Joseph Romm, the influential climate blogger, has coined the term “Dust-Bowlification” for the prospect of extended periods of extreme drought in formerly productive agricultural areas. He has been arguing for some time that this phenomenon, with its disastrous effects on food security, is likely to be the leading edge of damage from climate change, taking place over the next few decades; the drowning of Florida by rising sea levels and all that will come later.
And here it comes.
Pielke Jr. writes:
Instead of looking at the musings of a “climate blogger” (as entertaining as that may be) like Krugman does, let’s instead look at scientific research that has examined trends in US droughts. A crazy idea, I know. Fortunately, scientists have examined empirical data on the frequency and severity of drought on climate time scales.
Here is Andreadis and Lettenmaier (2006) in GRL (PDF):
[D]roughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, less severe, and cover a smaller portion of the country over the last century.